No charges for former T&T minister over assault allegation
(Trinidad Express) Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard has advised that former tourism minister Chandresh Sharma not be charged in a matter involving a complaint by his former girlfriend, Sacha Singh, that he had assaulted her.
Gaspard has written to acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams basing the recommendation on the evidence presented before him. He said: “I do not advise that Mr Sharma be charged since there is no reasonable prospect of a conviction. The police file is hereby returned.”
Sharma was being investigated by the police following a March 12 incident involving him and Singh who, in her report to the police, had alleged Sharma physically assaulted her around 8 p.m. at Grand Bazaar.
When the police attempted to question Sharma regarding Singh’s allegations, Sharma had opted to remain silent.
In the letter sent to Williams on July 18, Gaspard said on the totality of the evidence, he is of the opinion “Ms Singh’s allegation of assault at the hands of Mr Sharma is uncorroborated and may be hobbled by certain credibility factors”.
The letter, which has been obtained by the Express, also stated, “Ms Singh’s version of the events surrounding the altercation violently collides with that of Ms (Geeta) Maharaj, in certain material aspects” and “that taking Ms Singh’s evidence at its highest, the issue of self-defence is raised in favour of Mr Sharma, especially since there is no evidentiary basis so as to have it negative on any reasonable view of the evidence. Moreover, the evidence does not suggest that Mr Sharma had used excessive force to repel the attacks of Ms Singh and her confederate, bearing in mind that he cannot be expected to weigh with geometric precision his acts in self-defence”.
According to Gaspard, the evidence presented to him by Singh stated both she and Sharma “began a relationship in November 2013 and during that relationship, she found out that Mr Sharma was the father of a child whose mother is Ms Geeta Maharaj. She confronted Mr Sharma with this information and he denied it”.
It was Singh’s evidence that she made arrangements to meet Sharma at Grand Bazaar on March 12. Sharma agreed and, unknown to him, Singh arranged for Maharaj and the child to be present. Maharaj, her child, Singh and driver Yaseen Hosein all travelled in Singh’s vehicle to meet Sharma.
At the mall, Sharma went into Singh’s vehicle.
It was Singh’s evidence that Maharaj started kicking Sharma and struck him on his head and shoulders.
“It was also her evidence that while Mr Sharma was being attacked by Ms Maharaj, she held on to Mr Sharma’s tie. Mr Sharma then hit her a slap and pushed her off, causing her to strike her head on the car. She lost consciousness for a brief while before regaining her wits. It was her evidence, at the material time, all three parties were outside the car,” Gaspard noted.
It was also Singh’s evidence that both she and Maharaj, during an altercation with Sharma, were pointing their hands in Sharma’s face and calling him names.
On the day after the incident, Singh went to the hospital, where she was examined. The doctor found mild tenderness to her right temporo-parietal region and minor bruises to the right anterior chest wall. The doctor also found those injuries had been inflicted with mild force.
Maharaj, in her statement to police, admitted she had physically attacked Sharma with the assistance of Singh.
“Instructively, it was also Ms Maharaj’s evidence that during the altercation, Ms Singh was at all material times sitting inside of the vehicle. It was while she was also sitting that she pulled Mr Sharma’s tie,” the DPP noted.
Gaspard said Hosein (Singh’s driver) and witness Rajesh Singh were interviewed, with Hosein stating he was “parked in the car park of the mall at the material time and he could not have seen Ms Singh’s car”.
Singh (R) gave a police statement in which he said he witnessed a scuffle between “Sharma and a young, slim lady during which that lady fell to the ground”.
“It is rather curious that he makes no mention of Ms Singh’s role or participation in the dispute, especially since both Ms Singh and Ms Maharaj have admitted that they were involved in the fracas.
“It should be noted that he indicated to the police that he did not want anything to do with court. It should also be noted that he contacted and spoke with Ms Singh after the incident before deciding to report to the police,” Gaspard said.