State appeals dismissal of motor vehicle offence in Rajaee Ali’s favour

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

FILE PHOTO: Rajaee Ali

THE State has appealed the dismissal of a charge for failing to produce a valid certificate of insurance by a magistrate in favour of alleged gang leader Rajaee Ali in 2019.

Ali was found not guilty of the offence which allegedly took place in November 2014 in Carapo, Arima.

It was alleged when asked to provide the certificate of insurance for the car he was driving, Ali showed the police officers who stopped him a policy in someone else’s name which had expired the day before on November 2, 2014.

Ali was asked if he had a valid policy for October 3, but he allegedly said he did not. The next day, the person in whose name the insurance was in brought a new policy to the police but that was valid for one year, starting on that date (November 4, 2014).

Ali, who did not testify or call witnesses at the magistrates’ court was found not guilty on April 23, 2019, by Magistrate Avion Gill.

However, in its appeal, the State is contending that the court misdirected itself on the burden of proof in accordance with section 40 of the Summary Courts Act.

Although the appeal will be heard on November 28, deputy Director of Public Prosecutions George Busby, on Thursday, said the law provides that a citizen has to show they have valid insurance.

In the grounds of appeal, the State is contending the court also misdirected itself on what is required as far as a policy of insurance is concerned in order to comply with requirements of the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third-Party Risks) Act. It is also contended that the finding that the production of the insurance the next day was irrelevant and inadmissible was also wrong.

At a hearing on Thursday, Justices of Appeal Mark Mohammed and Maria Wilson said they wanted brief submissions from both the State and Ali’s attorney, Roshan Tota-Maharaj, and adjourned the hearing to the end of the month.