T&T women in court over body

(Trinidad Guardian) The common-law wife of former Centrin worker David Francis broke down in tears yesterday after she was given the go ahead to cremate her husband after a High Court judge discharged an injunction filed by Francis’ estranged wife.

Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh, presiding in the San Fernando High Court, lifted the injunction which prevented Chandrawatee Nandlal from disposing of his body after attorney Gerald Ramdeen, representing Francis’ wife Donna James, decided not to pursue the matter.

Donna Francis also did not pursue the claim for possession of Francis’ body.

When the matter was first called, the judge stood the matter down for the results of the second autopsy done by pathologist Hubert Daisley to be produced in court.

However, the judge asked both parties to have discussions to ensure Francis’ final respects took place in a dignified manner.

“I think those who would like to pay respects to Mr Francis ought to be able to do so and probably does not matter too much where or who makes the arrangement, once everyone gets an opportunity to pay respects.”

He said it was important that Francis be able to have his final rites with dignity and decorum where his wife, common-law wife, children, father, brother and other relatives could all take part.

When the matter was recalled, Daisley’s post mortem produced to the court concurred with forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov that death was due to hanging.

Donna Francis, left, estranged wife of David Francis, passes common-law wife, Chandrawatie Nandlal, outside the San Fernando High Court after yesterday's ruling.
Donna Francis, left, estranged wife of David Francis, passes common-law wife, Chandrawatie Nandlal, outside the San Fernando High Court after yesterday’s ruling.

Other findings of Daisley autopsy were laceration to the scalp, contusions to the abdominal wall and left ribs and abrasions to the chin.

The second autopsy was done on Friday after Donna Francis and other relatives questioned the results of the first finding.

Francis, who shared a common-law relationship with Nandlal for 19 years and has two children with her, was found hanging from a rope at their home on April 21.

Relatives believed Francis, who was among 200 Centrin workers laid off in February, hung himself because of financial problems.

His funeral was carded to take place last Saturday but on Friday night Ramdeen went to Nandlal’s home at Carli Bay, Couva, and served her with the injunction order.

Ramdeen told the judge he had spoken to the investigating officer, Dexter Duncan, who indicated that there was sufficient evidence to conduct an investigation.

In the circumstances, he said he had no difficulty in the order being discharged and the proceedings being brought to a conclusion.

Barely able to speak an emotional Nandlal, who was accompanied by Francis’ father Francis Belidam, 71, her children and other relatives, said she was happy the matter was over and she could put her husband to rest.


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