A woman, who was wrongfully included in the T&T Police Service (TTPS) most wanted list for failing to pay a traffic ticket, which was in fact paid, has threatened to sue for defamation.
In a letter sent to Caribbean Communications Network last Friday and obtained by Guardian Media, lawyers representing the insurance worker, whose name was withheld based on the circumstances of the case, are claiming that the error occurred last Thursday on the TTPS’s Beyond the Tape programme on television station TV6.
Her lawyer Dereck Balliram admitted that she was issued a fixed penalty traffic ticket for breaching a traffic sign on November 19, 2015.
However, he noted that she made her first court appearance on February 3, 2016, and was allowed to pay the fine on May 20, 2016.
“Our client was extremely shocked, surprised, embarrassed and humiliated when she was featured on the “most wanted” slide of pictures, inclusive and amongst other persons wanted for robbery, attempted murder and various offences,” Balliram said.
Balliram questioned whether a proper investigation was done before his client was included in the list as she maintained that she was never contacted by the TTPS over an outstanding warrant.
“What is blatant is there was no proper investigation and the defamatory words spoken in relation to our client along with the juxtaposition of her photograph was published carelessly and recklessly without caring whether the words or information published were true or false, bringing our client to ridicule, hatred and contempt,” Balliram said. Balliram called for his client to be removed from the list and an unequivocal retraction and apology from the show’s hosts journalist Marlon Hopkinson and Senior Superintendent Roger Alexander.
The woman is also seeking reasonable compensation for the alleged damage to her reputation.
Although Balliram gave the company 24 hours in which to respond, he had not received a response, up to late yesterday.
Guardian Media understands that Balliram also wrote to Deputy Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob to complain over the error and to call for the warrant to be recalled.
“Our client, a law-abiding citizen of T&T has never evaded the law. A careful, thorough investigation by the TTPS would have revealed that she did in fact pay her fine,” Balliram said.
“The existence of an arrest warrant in relation to our client’s matter is fundamentally unjustified,” he added.