Attorney Khemraj Ramjattan yesterday presented the teen boy who was tortured while he was in police custody to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, in a bid to get the government to pay out damages that were awarded by the High Court.
Nandlall on Tuesday accused Ramjattan of badgering him for the $6.5M in damages, and said that he had information that the boy’s whereabouts were unknown. Government appealed the award and Nandlall said he indicated that government may settle the matter if Ramjattan produced his client, who could not be located for over a year to testify in court.
However, Ramjattan said in an interview with Capitol News yesterday that he visited the Attorney General’s Chambers to get an update on the payment to clear up some comments made by Nandlall questioning his representation of the tortured teen.
“[My clients] are here with me to go and make our presence felt at the Attorney General’s Chambers for purposes of vindicating to him that they are still my clients,” he said.
He refuted Nandlall’s contentions and indicated that his client wanted their money, which he has been authorised to receive.
According to Nandlall, Ramjattan had requested the award be paid to him but he maintained that it was the clients that were entitled to the sum and not his attorney. He added that now that the clients have been produced, the government is to decide whether it will be pursuing the appeal or settling the matter.
Nandlall said as an attorney, he knows that lawyers have the authority to receive money on behalf of their clients but as Attorney General and the state’s attorney in the case, he has to ensure that the actual client is being paid. He stressed that Ramjattan indicated that his fees are in the judgment sum so he (Nandlall) has to be satisfied that the client receives the judgment sum.
“Ramjattan told me that to pay him the judgment’s sum because his fees are in there, but I don’t care about that, I have to ensure that ultimately the client is the one being paid,” he said.
The teen, through Ramjattan, had filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Police and the two ranks accused of torturing him, asking for $40 million in compensation.
Last June, Justice George after describing the case as constituting torture, awarded the teenager $6.5 million in damages. In giving her ruling she explained that there had been a violation of his fundamental human rights.
The boy had been held for questioning in connection with the murder of retired Region Three vice-chairman Ramenaught Bisram, who was found dead at his home on Monday October 26, 2009 with several stab wounds. While being interrogated by police officers at the Leonora Police Station, the boy, then 15, was reportedly doused with methylated spirits and set alight.
Two policemen, Mohanram Dolai and Narine Lall, were later charged for causing grievous bodily harm to the then 15-year old teen but had the charges later dismissed in the Magistrate’s Court, when the teen and his family failed to show up at the trial to give evidence.