Princes Town man loses lawsuit for his arrest in a quadruple murder inquiry

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo –

A PRINCES Town man has been ordered to pay the State’s cost of defending his wrongful arrest and false imprisonment claim arising out of his detention for four days as part of a police investigation into a quadruple murder in 2020.

After a brief trial on February 27, Justice Frank Seepersad held the police had reasonable and probable cause to arrest and detain Pierre Neptune after the suspect in the murders, who was eventually charged, claimed Neptune sold him one of the victim’s cell phones.

Neptune was ordered to pay $14,000 in costs.

Seepersad also said even though Neptune surrendered to the police days after the murder took place in New Grant in May 2020, after he learned the police were looking for him, his detention was not unreasonable since, at the time, covid19 restrictions were in place and time was needed for the police to thoroughly investigate Neptune’s alibi.

Neptune was eventually released without being charged after officers received advice from deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Joan Honore-Paul.

“Having formed a genuine suspicion and belief he could be implicated, they (the police) did have an obligation to investigate,” Seepersad said.

He also ruled that the period of Neptune’s detention was not “unusually long” to complete the investigative process and clear his name.

“While the claimant, like every citizen, has a right to freedom of movement, the public has the right to be kept safe and protected. Rights are never absolute,” he said.

“The police had information that potentially implicated him.”

Seepersad praised the police for their “unusually proactive” investigation of the case,

“The period of detention is not unusually long for verification of alibi, getting proper advice from DPP, and for interviews to take place…

“To the police’s credit, what was a very multifaceted investigative process was engaged and a decisive decision taken to release him having received advice…

“During the entirety of the time he was detained, there was reasonable and probable cause to keep him in custody,” the judge said.

“Fortunately for him, checks were made and he was eventually released. In the context of the offences being investigated and the covid19 restrictions, the police acted with prudence and alacrity in the way they conducted this investigation,” he added.

Neptune was represented by attorney Cedric Neptune while the State was represented by Monica Smith and Rachael Jacob.