Cop acquitted of 10-year-old fraud charges

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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A police officer has been freed of fraud charges by a San Fernando magistrate.

The three fraud charges against Shawn Gardiner were discharged on Thursday by Magistrate Natalie Diop in the San Fernando Magistrates Court.

Diop upheld a no-case submission by Gardiner’s attorney Keith Scotland.

Scotland had argued the evidence against his client was so tenuous he should not be convicted on it.

He said the prosecution’s evidence did not establish a prima facie case.

Gardiner was arrested and charged on February 15, 2013, stemming from an alleged loan application with the Gulf City Branch of Republic Bank.

The preliminary inquiry began on April 17, 2023, and ended on May 11, 2023.

It was alleged Gardiner on August 17, 2012, uttered a forged TT Police Service job letter, dated May 14, 2012, and on August 23, 2012, uttered a false letter of non-indebtedness from another bank in his name.

The third charge alleged that on August 29, 2012, he attempted to defraud Republic Bank of $51,400 being the proceeds of a loan.

Scotland said local and UK authorities advised where there was no evidence to support a charge, a no-case submission should be upheld by a court.

He recounted the evidence of all the prosecution witnesses, including workers at the two banks.

He said there was no evidence either of the documents were forged and also referred to testimony from the Republic Bank’s witness who testified that Gardiner returned the funds the same day he was contacted by the bank at the end of August 2012 and since the loan account was closed, he never received money from the bank.

It was Scotland’s contention the loan was properly approved based on the testimony of the bank’s witness.

Scotland said there was also no evidence his client signed any of the alleged forged documents nor were signature specimens presented to the court.

He said the prosecution had to prove his client knew the documents were forged when he allegedly presented them and there was nothing to support that contention.

Also testifying were officers of the police service.