‘State witness’ cop appears in court

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

– File photo

WPC Nicole Clement will return to court in June on a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, arising out of the immunity she received to testify against six of her colleagues who were charged with murder.

On March 18, it was decided to adjourn Clement’s criminal case pending the outcome of her lawsuit relating to plea-deal discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Clement appeared before Justice Mauriceia Joseph in the San Fernando High Court on the single count of conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice.

Joseph was told a decision on Clement’s civil lawsuit against the DPP was expected in May, although the judge presiding over the case has not set a firm date for her ruling, but will notify the parties when it is ready.

It was decided the criminal case would be adjourned to June 24 for a status update.

Clement was the State’s main witness in the murder trial against six police officers charged with the 2011 murder of three Moruga friends. She was also one of the officers charged with the murders of Abigail Johnson, 23, Alana Duncan, 28, and Kerron “Fingers” Eccles.

However, the three murder charges against her were discontinued in 2012 after the DPP gave her immunity to turn state witness and testify against the six.

During the trial at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, Clement refused to testify, and was deemed a “hostile witness.” The six officers were acquitted on November 24, 2023.

Clement had filed two separate lawsuits relating to the plea deal and her security detail at a safe house in 2022.

Justice Frank Seepersad threw out the lawsuit on the removal of the security detail on November 29, 2023.

In the other lawsuit, which is before Justice Margaret Mohammed, Clement complained of the DPP’s failure to continue plea discussions and execute a further plea agreement with her for financial support after the trial and for her family to migrate.

In that lawsuit, she claimed she entered into an agreement with then-assistant commissioner Raymond Craig for her to plead guilty to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and the three murder charges would be dropped against her once she turned state witness and testified against her former colleagues.

Her lawsuit claimed plea negotiations began with the DPP in 2012 but there was no provision in the agreement for her to migrate with her family, as had been previously discussed.

It claimed that she was assured that discussions would continue and a further agreement would be entered into, so she signed the plea deal. She was charged with the lesser offence in 2012 and committed to stand trial in January 2014.

An indictment was filed in May 2018.

Her lawsuit said she was prepared to plead guilty but there were issues with the plea deal to be resolved.

She was represented by attorney Michael Rooplal in the criminal case. Chenelle Moe appeared for the State.