State to compensate Ishmael for wrongful arrest, false prosecution /

Busi­ness­man In­shan Ish­mael is set to re­ceive sig­nif­i­cant com­pen­sa­tion from the State, af­ter his wrong­ful ar­rest, false im­pris­on­ment and ma­li­cious pros­e­cu­tion case over an in­ci­dent in 2017 was up­held by a High Court Judge. 

Jus­tice Frank Seep­er­sad up­held Ish­mael’s case af­ter a brief vir­tu­al tri­al yes­ter­day. 

Jus­tice Seep­er­sad did not im­me­di­ate­ly as­sess the com­pen­sa­tion owed to Ish­mael, as he in­vit­ed his at­tor­neys and those for the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al to file sub­mis­sions on the is­sue. He is ex­pect­ed to con­duct the as­sess­ment dur­ing a hear­ing next Tues­day. 

Ish­mael’s case stemmed from an in­ci­dent that oc­curred when he at­tend­ed a sports and fam­i­ly day at the AS­JA com­pound, Ca­roni Sa­van­nah Road, Char­lieville, on April 2, 2017. 

Ish­mael had just got in­to his car and was about to leave when an at­tendee at the event blocked Ish­mael’s SUV with his pick-up truck. 

Ish­mael, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Is­lam­ic Broad­cast Net­work (IBN), claimed the man used abu­sive and threat­en­ing lan­guage to­ward him be­fore he was al­lowed to leave. 

Ish­mael, who is a firearm user’s li­cense (FUL) hold­er, was un­armed at the time of the in­ci­dent. 

Ish­mael made a re­port to the Ch­agua­nas Po­lice Sta­tion over the in­ci­dent and the man, who op­posed him, made a re­port sev­er­al days lat­er in which he al­leged that Ish­mael had threat­ened him with a gun. 

Ish­mael was ar­rest­ed over six months lat­er while he was or­gan­is­ing a peace­ful protest over a de­ci­sion by the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) to block the en­trance to Barakah Grounds in Ch­agua­nas, where he op­er­ates his restau­rant. 

Ish­mael was ar­rest­ed by a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer, who he (Ish­mael) claimed used abu­sive and ob­scene lan­guage to­wards him and ac­cused him of at­tempt­ing to tar­nish the rep­u­ta­tion of the TTPS. 

He was de­tained in a cell at the po­lice sta­tion overnight be­fore be­ing re­leased af­ter search war­rants were ex­e­cut­ed at his home the fol­low­ing day. 

Lat­er that month, Ish­mael sur­ren­dered to po­lice af­ter he heard that there were three war­rants for his ar­rest in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent at the fam­i­ly day. 

He was charged with pos­ses­sion of a firearm to en­dan­ger life, pos­ses­sion of am­mu­ni­tion to en­dan­ger life and as­sault­ing the man. 

He was grant­ed bail and made nu­mer­ous court ap­pear­ances be­fore the charges were dis­missed af­ter Mag­is­trate Ra­jen­dra Ram­bachan up­held no-case sub­mis­sions made by his at­tor­neys. 

At the start of the hear­ing, Jus­tice Seep­er­sad had to deal with an ap­pli­ca­tion from Ish­mael’s le­gal team seek­ing a de­fault judge­ment against the State over its fail­ure to file a de­fence to his law­suit. 

State at­tor­ney Maria Bel­mar-Williams ap­plied for re­lief from the sanc­tion to file the de­fence out­side the dead­line, as she claimed that «an ad­min­is­tra­tive mishap» caused the de­lay. 

While Jus­tice Seep­er­sad ac­knowl­edged that Bel­mar-Williams’ de­part­ment was un­der­staffed and over­worked, he not­ed that the is­sues had to be ad­dressed in­ter­nal­ly and could not be al­lowed to «slow the wheels of jus­tice.» 

In up­hold­ing Ish­mael’s case, Jus­tice Seep­er­sad ruled that the po­lice did not have rea­son­able or prob­a­ble cause to ar­rest and charge him, as there were con­flict­ing re­ports over the in­ci­dent at the sports day and no ev­i­dence that he had a firearm in his pos­ses­sion. 

Jus­tice Seep­er­sad al­so stat­ed that he was alarmed by the fact that Ish­mael was charged with com­mon as­sault when the six-month statu­to­ry lim­i­ta­tion pe­ri­od for lay­ing the sum­ma­ry charge had al­ready elapsed. 

He not­ed that he in­ferred mal­ice based on Ish­mael’s com­pre­hen­sive claims over what tran­spired and or­dered that he re­ceive ex­em­plary and ag­gra­vat­ed dam­ages. 

Ish­mael was rep­re­sent­ed by Ar­den Williams and Shelly-Ann Daniel.


LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian