The soldier detained for questioning in connection with Monday’s fatal robbery attack at Pennywise Plaza, in La Romaine, has filed writ of habeas corpus.
Attorneys from CJ Williams and Company sent a pre-action protocol letter to acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob on Wednesday.
The soldier is attached to Camp Serette Army base in La Romaine.
He was detained by police officers after reporting that six men with rifles held him up at gunpoint and stole his vehicle.
The eight-page document, which was obtained by Guardian Media, said the claimant’s current detention is arbitrary and not in keeping with the relevant judicial learning.
It said there is no power to hold him, merely for questioning.
The writ is also also seeking an alternative to detention—that he may be released into the custody of the T&T Regiment—facilitating any further questioning.
His lawyers’ claim is that he is being unlawfully detained by officers of the TTPS.
The writ added that he has been detained for over 26 hours as he was arrested when he was not permitted to leave the San Fernando Police Station and to date, he has not been charged with any offence.
In the application, his lawyers are also contending that their client is not to be unlawfully incarcerated.
The lawyers are asking that the soldier be released forthwith and should he not be released “we ask to be provided with the legal reasons for the decision having regard to the fact that a reasonable alternative to detention exists.
Responding to the writ, attorney Tsonja Gaye, legal officer for the TTPS said, “I advise that your client’s matter is receiving the necessary attention. Nonetheless, it is clear from your own assertions that your client is fully aware of the reasons for his detention.
“Your client is being held relative to a report of ‘a larceny and shooting which took place on even date’.
“We do understand and appreciate duct of your matters, this may be perceived as intimidation and you must be reminded that police officers must be allowed the free opportunity to investigate and properly advance such investigations without unnecessary haste in order to reduce error and ensure fairness to all parties.”
Gaye’s response to the lawyers added, “It should be noted that the instant matter is still within the common law guidelines at this time since only approximately 33 hours have elapsed since your client has been in police custody, and only nine hours elapsed before you served the office of the Commissioner of Police with your pre-action letter. Consideration must be given to all efforts being made to treat this matter with a sense of urgency. That is to say, your client’s detention continues to be reasonable and justifiable in this situation.”
Police have also detained two other suspects in connection with the deadly robbery.
Investigators have confirmed that apart from the three detained men, no one else is in custody.