Khemraj Ramjattan, the lawyer for the teen boy tortured while in police custody, yesterday said that he is only trying to ensure that his client gets justice, while denying claims by Attorney General Anil Nandlall that he wants money awarded to the boy for himself.
Stressing that he is shocked that Nandlall would even imply that he is after the $6.5M court award to subtract his fees, Ramjattan yesterday charged that efforts are afoot to force his client to accept a smaller figure.
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.
As a result, Ramjattan took the teen to Nandlall’s office on Wednesday.
“The fees are the last thing in my mind,” Ramjattan said yesterday, adding that he had indicated that his client’s whereabouts were known. He said that he first approached Nandlall on the issue shortly after he was appointed Attorney General and Nandlall accused him of being only after the money.
Ramjattan told Stabroek News that as the attorney in the case, he is authorised to collect money on his client’s behalf. “He is trying to show I am greedy but that is not so. I am surprised at his statement,” he added, saying that the money belongs in “my client’s account not the state coffers.”
He further accused Nandlall of being “unethical,” and suggested that he was trying to frustrate the victim into accepting a smaller sum to settle the case.
Ramjattan on behalf of the teen had filed a $40 million lawsuit against the then Attorney General, the Commissioner of Police and the two ranks accused of torturing the boy, seeking $40M in compensation.
Last June, Justice Roxane George, after describing the case as constituting torture, awarded the teenager $6.5M in damages, while explaining 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 but had the charges later dismissed in the Magistrate’s Court, when the teen and others failed to show up at the trial to give evidence.