A man with financial problems, who was sentenced to a 12-month jail term with hard labour for possession of counterfeit US currency, was found hanging in the holding cell at the Couva Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Sheraz Ali, 37, was discovered hanging by a leather belt by officers around 12.45 p.m.
He had earlier appeared before Magistrate Rae Roopchand and pleaded guilty to the offence.
Police said Ali went to a business place in Balmain, Couva and attempted to make a purchase using US currency. The proprietor became suspicious and contacted Couva Police Station.
Ali, of Phoenix Park Road, California, was searched and officers found US$2,300 in his possession. The US$100 bills were all counterfeit.
Police said Ali, the father of a 15-year-old girl, was placed in the court holding cell, to await transportation to Golden Grove Prison in Arouca. He was found hanging an hour later.
Ali worked as a part-time taxi driver.
Relatives did not know Ali had committed suicide when the Express visited yesterday. His wife and mother had gone to Golden Grove Prison to drop of clothing, but were told to return on Monday.
Family said Ali was having financial problems and this may have been the reason he became involved with the counterfeit money.
Relatives said that soon after the sentence was imposed, they thought Ali would not be able to handle his time in prison.