The Court of Appeal has reinstated a lawsuit against the State over the detention of an excavator that was allegedly used in illegal quarrying.
In the substantive claim, Rivulet Investment Group Limited claimed that in May, last year, it rented two excavators to
Arabco Company Limited and its owner Husayn Al-Fayed.
The company claimed that two months later when it attempted to retrieve the excavators because of non-payment, it was informed that one was seized by police as part of an investigation into illegal quarrying in east Trinidad.
The company sued the renter company, its owner and the State and sought to obtain default judgements after they failed to file defences.
However, while it was successful against the other company and its owner, the Office of the Attorney General filed an application to have the case struck out as an abuse of process.
The AG’s Office claimed that the company could have applied for the excavator to be released in the separate case in which persons were being prosecuted for illegal quarrying.
The submission was upheld by High Court Judge Robin Mohammed.
Presenting submissions before Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judge Charmaine Pemberton, earlier this week, the company’s lawyer Farai Hove-Masaisai submitted that the claim against the State should be reinstated. He also stated that concurrent criminal and civil proceedings are permitted in this jurisdiction.
While the appeal panel agreed, it ruled that the case should be stayed until the criminal case, in which the company is not involved is determined and the magistrate agrees to release the heavy equipment.
Through the lawsuit, the company is seeking compensation for its loss of use of the equipment, which it rented for $4,500 a day before the seizure.
The company is also being represented by Jennifer Farah-Tull, while Keisha Prosper represented the State.