TRINIDAD-LAWSUIT-Court rules against leader of Muslim group

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Nov 21, CMC – A High Court judge has dismissed a claim for compensation by the leader of a Muslim group who had been charged with the 1998 murder of member of the group.
Yasin Abu Bakr, the leader of the Jamaat al Muslimeen group had sought compensation in his malicious prosecution lawsuit against a magistrate who, as coroner, ordered that he be charged for the 1998 murder of 22-year-old mechanic Israel Sammy.
Bakr had argued that coroner Nalini Singh acted maliciously when she charged him and Brent “Big Brent” Miller with murder after the conclusion of a coroner’s inquest into the death of Sammy in September 2010.
Sammy, also a former member of Bakr’s organisation, was shot dead behind his home in Maraval, on the outskirts of the capital on May 20, 1998.
Singh’s decision was eventually overturned one month later after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard said there was insufficient evidence to sustain the charge.
In his ruling on Monday, Justice Frank Seepersad said the evidence in Bakr’s claim established the rules of natural justice were adhered to and, observed during the inquest, there was nothing to suggest Singh’s procedure was flawed or that Bakr’s rights were compromised.
He also said there was no evidence Singh acted with malice or improper motive, adding that in arriving at her decision she properly discharged her statutory obligations under the Coroner’s Act.
In dismissing the lawsuit, Justice Seepersad found the malicious prosecution claim could not be sustained against the coroner since she did not prosecute Bakr, who rose to prominence here in 1990 when he led a group of more than 100 men in an attempt at overthrowing the then government of prime minister ANR Robinson.
The judge said that Bakr’s lawsuit was “not properly structured,” and that the lawsuit against the Attorney General could not be sustained since there was no allegation that the DPP went on to prosecute Bakr.
Bakr was ordered to pay costs.

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