Concerns are now being raised by investigators assigned to the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) relating to two matters in which their former boss, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Totaram Dookie, has been named as the defendant.
The matters have remained outstanding for months as the officers await instructions from deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Honore-Paul.
The matters, in which Dookie has been accused of two counts of assault and alleged kidnapping, were forwarded to Honore-Paul since May.
The accusations stemmed from two separate matters involving Dookie in February 2017 and July 2018 respectively.
The possible charges of common assault and kidnapping are connected to the 2017 incident while the charge of common assault stems from the 2018 incident.
The queries from the investigators about the delay in the case come even as Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard recently sparred over the efficiency of the justice system and which office was to blame for the delay in cases.
Guardian Media was reliably informed by senior police sources about the chronology of events that unfolded since May regarding the investigations.
While the first incident occurred in 2017, the 47-year-old victim told police in his statement that he only gathered the courage to file a formal report one month after learning Dookie had gone on leave in January 2020. The victim said it was only when he read in the newspaper that Dookie was no longer working at the PSB he decided to make the report.
Dookie, who was promoted to the rank of ACP, was sent on vacation leave around December 28, 2019.
The second incident occurred in 2018 but the 69-year-old victim also told investigators he only reported it this year because he had been afraid of Dookie before.
Officers investigating this case also received other complaints from a family related to the matter.
On May 29, 2020, three senior PSB investigators visited Honore-Paul’s south office with two files and she advised that they be left with her with a promise to get back to the officers within a week.
On June 24, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said the T&T Police Service (TTPS) was awaiting the return of the two files, and instructions on how to proceed.
On June 29, Honore-Paul gave instructions to PSB officers to arrest and interview Dookie and return with notes for instructions.
On July 1, Dookie was arrested and questioned before being released.
The investigators submitted notes to Honore-Paul who ordered them to release Dookie and said she would contact investigators with further instructions.
Honore-Paul later cancelled three scheduled meetings with investigators on July 6, 10 and 22 before instructing them that the files would be sent to them by July 23. However, to date, the investigators are still waiting and it’s been almost three months since they have received any official word on the case.
Senior police sources are questioning why there has been such a significant delay in making a pronouncement on the matter.
One senior officer familiar with the case said based on information provided to the DPP’s office and the statements of the victims, “there is enough information for the DPP office to act.”
Sources said they have also obtained reliable information that a particular individual has made frequent trips to the South office of the Deputy DPP inquiring about the case’s status.
Griffith chose not to comment the matter when contacted on the case’s status.
However, Dookie’s lead attorney Jagdeo Singh, in a telephone interview with Guardian Media, said, “From my instructions…from what I understand this is a completely trumped-up case. These allegations are completely trumped-up allegations from my understanding.”
Singh could not say who was behind the trumped-up case, saying he did not want to be reckless with his statements.
“But I suppose in due course all will come out,” Singh said.
Also contacted, Dookie chose not to comment when asked if he felt there was a conspiracy by colleagues to tarnish his character months ahead of his retirement from the T&T Police Service.
Asked if he had visited the DPP’s office, Dookie said he preferred not to comment on the issue “because my attorneys are advising on it and it would be improper.”
Responding to questions sent by Guardian Media via Whatsapp, Honore-Paul wrote, “I do not subscribe to the view that I have an obligation to apprise you as to the status of any matter under my consideration, especially before I advise the TTPS. This is in keeping with my ethical sense and so as to not risk any compromising of an investigation.”
Respectfully, she stated, “Whatever the views of the police and your ‘sources’, I have not met with any person whom I know to have a ‘vested’ interest in any matter. I will revert to the TTPS, as I usually do, which is as soon as my schedule allows and with the best of dispatch.”
Questions sent to Honore-Paul
1) What is the status of the two files that were submitted to you by PSB investigators in relation to ACP Dookie?
2) Did you defer several meetings with the PSB investigators regarding those files?
3) Investigators hold the view that you failed to act on those files and this matter is being delayed for too long. What is your response to this?
4) Did you review the files, and if so, what is the next step?
5) Police and sources inside the DPP’s office have said that someone with a vested interest in the matter has been continuously visiting the DPP’s south office to find out about the case. Is this true?