T&T judge pleads not guilty to breathalyser charge

(Trinidad Express) Industrial Court vice president Ramchand Lutchmedial yesterday pleaded not guilty on a charge of failing to submit a specimen of breath for a breathalyser test last Friday.

The charge falls under section 70B(5) of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act (amended).

Apart from pleading not guilty, Lutchmedial otherwise stood in silence when he appeared before Magistrate Bramanand Dubey in the Tunapuna Magistrates’ Third Court.

The judge was represented by a team of attorneys which included his daughter Jayanti Lutchmedial, Yaseen Ali and Nicholas Rampersadsingh.

According to the police report read out in court, Lutchmedial was stopped last Friday night along Derrick Road, Chase Village, Chaguanas, during a routine police exercise by officers of the Central Division.

It was said in court that Lutchmedial was asked by the officers at the scene to present a specimen of breath but he failed to do so without reasonable cause.

As a result, he was charged under the relevant legislation by PC Sammy.

In his submissions to the court, attorney Yaseen Ali noted that his client had a “well published” job in the legal fraternity as an Industrial Court judge and had been a long standing member of the bar as he had been practising for the past 36 years.

Ali also noted that because of this, his client had no previous matters before the courts nor convictions, and therefore he asked that the judge be granted bail and be “allowed to leave on his own cognisance”.

Ali also noted that Lutchmedial’s driver’s permit had been taken away from him on Friday night by officers at the scene, an act which is contrary to regulations. However, he did submit that it had been returned to his client earlier that evening.

The attorney also asked for disclosure and for a “speedy trial date”.

After further submissions from both Ali and police prosecutor Sgt Ken Ali, the matter was then adjourned to January 12.

Lutchmedial was then granted continued bail at $5,000.


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