Pensioner spared paying $40,000 ordered by magistrate

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Port of Spain District Magistrates Court. PHOTO SUREASH CHOLAI

A magistrate who ordered a 79-year-old pensioner to forfeit a portion of the bail he took for his nephew in 2012 made a serious error when she did so, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

On Thursday, Justices of Appeal Mark Mohammed and Maria Wilson upheld the appeal of retired Board of Inland Revenue worker Lennox Parris after assistant Director of Public Prosecution Nigel Pilgrim said the State could not defend the magistrate’s order of forfeiture.

Parris was ordered to forfeit $40,000 of the $60,000 bail he had taken for his nephew or serve six weeks in prison.

The judges agreed with Pilgrim that the magistrate failed to consider the attempts the pensioner made to get his nephew to attend court in September 2012. Pilgrim was also commended for his position.

When summoned to court to show why the bail he took should not be forfeited, Parris said on the day his nephew was supposed to go to court, he was in London for the Olympics.

He said he told his sister to make sure her son went to court, since he would not be in the country. He even said he called to make sure.

At the hearing, the magistrate said she did not believe his claim he was in London, since the Olympics would have ended at the time, and he was given 28 days to pay the $40,000. He was unable to pay and appealed.

In allowing the appeal, the magistrate’s order was set aside and the judges told Parris he did not have to pay.