Today The Honourable Mr. Justice Frank Seepersad sitting in the Port of Spain High Court ruled in favour of the Attorney General in a claim brought against the state by Mr. Yasin Abu Bakr. Bakr commenced proceedings against the State in a claim filed on the 19th September, 2014 seeking a declaration that his constitutional rights had been infringed. This claim arose out of the inquest into the death of Mr. Israel Sammy. In September 2010, Ms. Nalini Singh sitting as the coroner for the County of St George West, ordered that Bakr be charged for the murder of Mr. Sammy at the conclusion of the inquest into his death. Sammy was shot and killed at the back of his home on the 20th May, 1998. Bakr and Mr Brent Miller were subsequently charged with Mr Sammy’s murder on the 29th September, 2010. The DPP subsequently discontinued the charge against Bakr.
Bakr sought a declaration that the actions of Coroner Singh were unconstitutional, an order quashing the decision of the Coroner and damages for breach of his constitutional rights. The Attorney General filed an application to strike out Bakr’s claim on the basis that it amounted to an abuse of the process of the court.
In ruling for the Attorney General, the Court found that the decision of the Coroner was made within the confines of due process and that any decision of the Coroner ought properly to have been challenged by way of judicial review. Justice Seepersad held that Bakr had an effective and appropriate alternative remedy. The Court found that the action brought by Bakr was inappropriate and amounted to an abuse of the Courts process. Bakr was ordered to pay the Attorney General’s costs.
In this matter the Attorney General was represented by Mr. Allan Newman QC leading Messrs Jagdeo Singh and Gerald Ramdeen.
Dated:MONDAY 29TH JUNE, 2015.
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO