Derek Achong

A former cadet officer trainee, who was discharged after he was caught cheating on an examination, has lost his lawsuit against the State.

Delivering a judgment in the case electronically yesterday morning, High Court Judge Frank Seepersad dismissed the lawsuit brought by Paul Jaglal and ordered him to pay the legal costs the Office of the Attorney General incurred in defending his claim.

According to the evidence in the case, Jaglal was appointed to an officer cadetship in November 2015 and began training in February 2016.

Jaglal claimed that during the first phase of training he suffered unfair treatment, discrimination, and victimization from superiors, who targeted him based on his race. He also claimed that he was forced to run extra laps as he refused their commands to use obscene language.

During the second phase, Jaglal was caught cheating in a leadership examination. While Jaglal claimed that his fellow trainees were involved in the scam, he took responsibility for the entire batch.

Although Jaglal was charged by the chief instructor, who recommended that he be discharged, he was given a “lifeline” by being allowed to train with the next batch of cadets.

Jaglal did not complete the training and was eventually received his discharge papers in November 2017.

In his judgement, Seepersad found no issues with Jaglal’s discharge.

“The factual matrix which unfolded demonstrates that the Claimant was treated fairly, afforded the right to a fair hearing, was given an opportunity to explain himself. He was even permitted to retrain with another batch of cadets. By his own admission, he was dishonest in his approach to the examination, he cheated and he was caught,” Seepersad said.

He stated that the process used was fair, reasonable, and proportionate in the circumstances.

“A heightened obligation exists during the recruitment, training, and probationary period and administrators must exercise vigilance to weed out unsuitable persons whose behaviour and characteristic traits do not accord with the ethos of noble, selfless national service,” Seepersad said.

Referring to Jaglal’s claims over discrimination and alleged breaches of his constitutional rights, Seepersad questioned why he never brought a complaint under the Equal Opportunity Act.

“The claimant had valid alternative remedies which he failed to pursue and for the reasons which have been outlined his claims with respect to alleged breaches under Sections 4 and 5 of the Constitution are devoid of merit,” Seepersad said.

Jaglal was represented by Arden Williams and Shelly-Ann Daniel while Keisha Prosper, Andella Ramroop and Laura Persad represented the AG’s Office.