A police constable on suspension for 13 years for altering a sick leave certificate was yesterday found guilty on two counts of fraud by a San Fernando jury.
As soon as the verdicts were announced, a female relative of Nigel Ramlal, 39, began wailing and crying and collapsed on the floor in the public gallery of the First Criminal Court.
“Marshal, please assist that person to leave the court,” Justice Carla Brown-Antoine instructed as the woman continued to cry.
Ramlal, who was last attached to the Point Fortin Police Station, went on trial before Justice Brown-Antoine and a nine-member jury last Friday on two charges of forgery and uttering a forged document.
The prosecution’s case, led by state attorneys Veonna Neale-Monroe and Victoria Manun, was that on July 25, 2006, Ramlal’s brother submitted a sick leave application and a medical certificate on his behalf. The sick leave was for 60 days. About two weeks later, ACP Samuel Jemmott, now retired, noticed what appeared to be a zero added to the number six and “ty” added to the word “six” and reported the matter to the Fraud Squad.
Charging officer Sgt Kent Ghisyawan, now a superintendent attached to the Anti Corruption Bureau interviewed the doctor who signed the leave and he denied giving Ramlal sick leave for 60 days. Ghisyawan submitted a specimen of Ramlal’s handwriting, his driving permit application form and specimen handwriting from Dr Singh to the Forensic Sciences Centre.
The jury heard that analysis concluded that the word “sixty” and number “60” on the medical certificate had been altered. The “ty” in sixty and “0” in “60” were added with a different ink (pen) to the “six in the word sixty and to the six in the number 60.
When he was confronted by the police, Ramlal denied the allegation.
“I never change the days on this medical.
The doctor give me it for 60 days,” he said.
He was subsequently charged by Ghisyawan.
The State led evidence from nine witnesses, but only two of them, Jemmott and Ghiysawan, testified in court. The evidence of the other witnesses, one of whom has since died, was read to the jury. Ramlal did not give evidence in the witness box or call witnesses.
The jury deliberated for about two hours before returning with the verdicts. Ramlal’s attorneys, Subhas Panday and Aleena Ramjag, requested a probation officer’s report and an opportunity to prepare a plea in mitigation.
Ramlal who was out on $20,000 bail was remanded in custody to await sentencing and the matter was adjourned to November 26.
GUARDIAN MEDIA REPORT