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State wraps up case against Griffith in 1 hour

Cops claim minister used insulting language

By Rickie Ramdass rickie.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

IN THE space of just over one hour, the State was able to open and close its case against Minister of Science and Technology Dr Rupert Griffith on a charge of using insulting language.

Yesterday, State prosecutor George Busby opened and closed the State's case after calling PCs Larry Joefield and Rawle McKenzie to the witness stand before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain Court.

After the closing of the case, however, the defence team, which is led by Israel Khan SC, made a no-case submission, saying there was no such charge in law.

Joefield testified that on March 8, Griffith used insulting language towards him and other officers on Dock Road, Port of Spain, while the officers were in the process of issuing a traffic ticket to his driver.

He said he noticed a vehicle, in which Griffith was the passenger, breach a red light at Dock Road. After telling the driver to pull to the side of the roadway, Griffith told the driver in return to, "Go on, go on, drive off."

The driver however pulled to the side of the roadway, said Joefield. He added that a short while later, in a loud tone of voice, Griffith said: "Why are you all harassing people? Why are you giving my driver a ticket? All yuh is stupid police... how all yuh get that work?"

Joefield said he informed Griffith that just because he was a Government minister, it did not mean he could not be charged with an offence.

"I told him that the rain does fall on both the just and the unjust, and that parliamentary privilege was for inside the Parliament alone," said Joefield.

McKenzie said Griffith shouted to the officers, telling them they were rogue officers.

Khan, who is assisted by attorneys Om Lalla and Derrick Balliram, told the court his client had no case to answer.

Ayers-Caesar adjourned the matter to December 19 when she is expected to rule on the no-case submission.

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