Lawyers representing the T&T Police Service are expected to appear before a High Court Judge Friday morning, to justify the continued detention of a soldier held for questioning in relation to Monday’s fatal robbery at Pennywise Plaza in La Romain.
Guardian Media understands that lawyers representing the T&T Defence Force (TTDF) private filed his writ of habeas corpus Thursday morning and it was granted by High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad, who set the hearing for 11.30 am to decide on his continued detention by police.
In his court filings, obtained by Guardian Media, his lawyers, Criston J Williams, Jade Martinez and Blaine Sobrian, claimed he was arrested on Monday after he went to the San Fernando Police Station to report that he had been carjacked by five armed men in La Romain.
His arrest was reportedly due to the fact that the vehicle was one of those used in the robbery of three security guards attached to Allied Security Services who were performing cash transit duties.
Security guards Jeffery Peters and Jerry Stuart were shot and killed in the robbery. Their colleague, Peola Baptiste, was also wounded in the attack and remains in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope, as she suffered a stroke after undergoing emergency surgery.
Four of the men allegedly involved in the incident were shot and killed by police as they tried to evade capture.
Two civilians have since been held by investigators, in addition to the soldier.
Police recovered all the cash stolen in the robbery and seized several high-powered firearms, including AR-15 assault rifles.
In the court filings, the soldier’s lawyers are claiming his continued detention for questioning in relation to the robbery is unlawful and unreasonable.
They claim while there is no statutory provision for how long a person may be detained without being charged, 48 hours has been deemed reasonable in several landmark cases on the issue. They claim their client can be released into the custody of the T&T Regiment pending further investigations.
Attached to the writ was an affidavit from the soldier’s uncle, who is the owner of the Nissan X-Trail which was being used by his nephew.
He claimed that around 6 pm on Monday, he received a call from an officer of the Tableland Police Station, who told him his vehicle was involved in a hit-and-run accident.
He claimed he called his nephew, who answered and claimed that he was robbed of the vehicle a short while earlier. He said he later learned that his nephew was held for questioning in relation to the robbery of the security officers.
Responding to the legal threat on Wednesday, TTPS legal officer Tsonja Gayle said police investigators needed time to complete their investigation. She also described the legal move as an abuse of process.