A self-professed gambler who offered a policeman over $27,000 from his winnings as a bribe to prevent the officer from charging him for playing loud music from his van appeared in court yesterday.
Shivanand Rampersad said he turned to gambling when he became unemployed after a part from a truck fell on his face.
He was yesterday allowed to use the bribe money to pay the fines ordered by the court.
At around 10 p.m. on August 21, the police officer who charged Rampersad was on mobile patrol in the Debe area when he heard loud music.
He followed the sound and found it was coming from a parked black Mazda pick-up, police prosecutor Sgt Chanardath Jhilmit said.
Rampersad, 32, of Barrackpore told the officers he was the driver of the van.
He was asked to hand over his driver’s permit and certificate of insurance.
They were found to be valid.
Constable Shawn Seeth told Rampersad he was playing a noisy instrument in a vehicle and began to issue him a ticket for the offence.
While he was writing the notice, Rampersad took out a stack of money wrapped in a rubber band and attempted to offer it to the policeman saying, “Officer, I kill them in the casino tonight. Take something and let we forget that.”
Seeth told him of the offence of offering a bribe to a police officer and held onto Rampersad’s left arm. He told him he was under arrest.
Rampersad began to pull away violently and had to be subdued by other police officers.
He was then taken to the Barrackpore Police Station where he was charged for offering the bribe and resisting arrest.
Rampersad’s stack of money totalling $27,016, was brought to the San Fernando Fourth Court yesterday before Magistrate Indar Jagroo.
Asked about his actions, Rampersad said he had been drinking alcohol before the incident.
He admitted he gambled to support himself as he has been unable to continue his job as a machinist following his accident.
Rampersad said on April 13, part of a truck fell on his face, damaging his cheekbone and jaw. He said he spent three weeks in hospital while his face was reconstructed.
“I have no choice but to gamble to make money. I not working,” Rampersad told the court.
The prosecution said Rampersad had no previous convictions.
The magistrate fined him $3,000 for trying to bribe the officer. He had to pay the money immediately or serve six months behind bars.
A $1,000 fine to be paid immediately was also ordered for resisting arrest. In default of paying the money, Rampersad will spend three months in prison.
Jagroo allowed him to use the gambling money to pay the fines.
The court ordered that the remainder of the money be returned to Rampersad.
For refusing to accept the bribe, the magistrate recommended that Seeth be paid the maximum $500 award that can be issued by the court under the Police Service Act.
Jagroo said his honesty could act as an example to other officers.
Rampersad, who was issued the ticket for playing the loud music, will have to pay this fine before another court.