A couple from Cumana has lost their lawsuit over being maliciously prosecuted for marijuana possession.
Delivering a seven-page judgment electronically, earlier this month, High Court Judge Ronnie Boodoosingh dismissed the case brought by Wendell Tull-Villareul and his common-law wife, Judy Small, and ordered them to pay the $14,000 in legal fees the State incurred in defending it.
In the lawsuit, the couple claimed that they were arrested on December 5, 2013, after police executed a search warrant at their apartment located along the Toco Main Road in Cumana.
They claimed that the officers picked the lock of the apartment door and began using obscene language upon entry.
The couple was arrested after the officers allegedly found a packet of marijuana floating in a bucket of water. Less than a year later, the charge was eventually dismissed for want of prosecution.
In his judgment, Boodoosingh described the couple’s claims as implausible and far-fetched as he ruled that the police had reasonable and probable cause to charge them.
“It seems unlikely to me that the police would just choose to set up the claimants just like that,” Boodoosingh said, as he noted that at the time of the raid Small was a Special Reserve Police (SRP) .
“The claimants also said the police stopped at a bar and played pool and drank while prisoners were left in the police bus. I also found this bit of evidence to be somewhat incredible,” Boodoosingh added.
Boodoosingh also rejected the couple’s claim that the search warrant used for the apartment was in the name of Tull-Villareul’s uncle, who lived in the upstairs portion of the property. Boodoosingh ruled that the warrant covered the entire property.
“An error of such a nature did not change the substance of the case…If ultimately there had been no warrant in the second claimant’s name, this would not have erased the defendant’s case that marijuana was found in the apartment,” Boodoosingh said.
The couple was represented by Chris Selochan, Shannon Samaroo-Suraj and Ivan Daniel.
Sasha Sukhram and Amrita Ramsook represented the State.