Appeal Court quashes convictions for 2

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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A San Fernando vendor with a string of convictions against her now has one less after the Court of Appeal quashed one of them.

Also benefiting from the erasure of a conviction against him was an 18-year-old who was convicted of possession of a grinder ( a tool used to break down marijuana into small bits).

On Thursday, Justices of Appeal Mark Mohammed and Maria Wilson presided over the magisterial appeals of vendor Edna Paul and Jael Mohammed.

In Paul’s case, she was fined for pitching a stall on Mon Chagrin Street, San Fernando; wilfully obstructing the free passageway, and unlawfully exposing goods for sale in 2019. Paul appealed because her goods had been confiscated by the court’s order although they had since been distributed to charities.

Deputy DPP Joan Honore-Paul said while the magistrate did have the discretion under section 110(1) of the Summary Courts Act to seize the goods as proceeds of a crime which, she said, could either be in cash form or material, one of the charges against Paul should not have been laid.

Although acknowledging that Paul had a number of convictions against her – 11 in all – Mohammed said the addition of three more will not “reflect well on her at the end of the day” and the striking out of one can be of “some” benefit.

The conviction for unlawfully exposing goods for sale was quashed by the judges who ordered that the $200 fine she paid be returned to her and explained the procedure for her to get it back.

In Mohammed’s case, Honore-Paul agreed he should have been reprimanded and discharged under section 71(1)(a) of the Summary Courts Act. She said he had just turned 18 at the time and had no previous convictions.

In agreeing to quash his conviction, the judges suggested police use their discretion in such cases by not prosecuting but giving a warning.