Sascha Wilson

A judge has ordered that a Chaguanas man, who was detained by the police for allegedly aiding illegal Venezuelan nationals, be released after his 14-day quarantine at a State facility if he is not charged.

This follows a habeas corpus application by his attorney Shiva Boodoo approximately 132 hours after he was detained.

At the time the 46-yer-old man was still detained at the Penal Police Station.

However, the applicant was sent to the quarantine facility at the Chaguanas Heliport over the weekend in keeping with the COVID-19 regulations.

He was held by officers of the Point Fortin Municipal Police on January 22 while driving along the South Central Road.

He was transporting Venezuelan nationals who were suspected to have entered the country illegally.

According to his aunt’s affidavit, at the time of his arrest he was not exhibiting any flu-like symptoms nor did he complain of feeling unwell.

He was taken to the Siparia Health Facility where he was medically examined and referred to a state quarantine for 14 days. No COVID-test was administered on him. Instead of taking him to the state quarantine, his aunt said he was taken to the Penal Police Station.

She said he was interviewed in the absence of his attorney and a statement was taken from him.

According to court documents, one of his relatives visited the police station on January 25 and was told that he was charged and would be going to court the following day.

However, the aunt said Boodoo inquiries revealed that he was not charged and that he was awaiting transportation to the heliport.

They were advised that he would be taken there on January 26.

On that day, she said Boodoo was told that the vehicle which was supposed to have transported him to the heliport was involved in an accident.

The aunt said Boodoo was told by a police constable that there was no space at the heliport for her nephew. Later that night, she said another police constable told the attorney that the issue was never space, but the lack of transportation.

In her affidavit, she contended that the detention of her nephew was illegal and unlawful. After the habeas corpus application, the applicant was transported to the heliport on Saturday morning.

Heard virtually before Justice Avason Quinlan-Williams, the judge ordered that the applicant be released from police custody if he was not transported to the state quarantine facility by 7 pm on January 30.

The judge further ordered that he be released after his quarantine period unless he is charged with a criminal offence.