Ex-cop sues DPP for case file

Ex-cop sues DPP for case file

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File photo -
File photo –

A retired police officer from Palo Seco is suing the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for refusing or denying him access to information relating to his arrest in 2006.

Kumar Balgobin wants the information to pursue a malicious prosecution claim against the State.

He filed an application for judicial review after he received no response from the DPP and is seeking a declaration that the denial or refusal by the director was in breach of his statutory duty under the Freedom of Information Act. Balgobin also wants orders either compelling the DPP to provide him with a response or to compel the provision of the information.

Balgobin and three other officers from the rapid response unit of the South Western Division were arrested and charged on August 30, 2006, for allegedly assaulting a pundit’s assistant weeks earlier.

He was suspended from the police service but his indictment on the assault charge was eventually quashed by Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas on June 16, 2016.

Balgobin has since filed a malicious prosecution claim against the State and sought information from the DPP’s office relating to his prosecution.

Balgobin wants the entire file concerning his prosecution for his malicious prosecution case, including all station diary extracts, pocket diaries, telephone message books, investigative reports and interview notes, photographs, exhibits, warrants and witness statements of the victim and his own.

He also wants copies of the disclosures provided in the High Court proceedings and the advice given to the police to charge him on four offences initially – assault occasioning actual bodily harm, robbery with violence, kidnapping and false imprisonment – and the advice for maintaining the assault charge while dropping the others. He also wants all correspondence the DPP received from the police.

On Tuesday, Balgobin’s ex-parte application came up for hearing before Justice Frank Seepersad who questioned his attorneys on the information they were asking for and if it had not been provided at the preliminary inquiry in the magistrate’s or in the depositions when the indictment was laid in the High Court.

Attorney Jayanti Lutchmedial, who appears with Senior Counsel Anand Ramlogan and attorney Jared Jagroo for Balgobin, said she could not say what was disclosed in the criminal matter but since the current application involved a freedom of information request, it was for the DPP to respond and say either the information asked for was already provided or not.

“It is that the reason was not provided which is why were are here now.”

However, Seepersad said he had some concerns with the application, since, in most malicious prosecution cases, the notes of evidence from the criminal proceedings formed part of the evidence in the civil case.

He also said he was concerned that Balgobin’s malicious prosecution case was assigned to another judge and the possible overlap as well as taxing an office (the DPP’s department) already strained for manpower.

“My concern is do we open this door where the applicant may have already received all or most information and use the FOIA to get the same information?”

The matter was adjourned after Lutchmedial said she will speak with Ramlogan on the court’s concerns.

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