|No case to answer |
By NALINEE SEELAL and KEINO SWAMBER Thursday, July 24 2014
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DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard has advised Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams that no charge be laid against Fyzabad MP and former Tourism Minister Chandresh Sharma arising out of allegations of assault made by his former girlfriend Sacha Singh.
Sharma on March 31, tendered his resignation as Tourism Minister to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who advised President Anthony Carmona of her decision to revoke Sharma’s appointment as one of her Cabinet ministers.
In an opinion dated July 18, Gaspard said it was his view that Singh’s account of the assault, which she claimed occurred on March 12 at Grand Bazaar, stood uncorroborated and “hobbled by certain credibility factors.”
Gaspard said taking Singh’s evidence at its highest, the issue of self-defence is raised in favour of MP Sharma, especially since there is “no evidentiary basis so as to have it negatived on any reasonable view of evidence.”
He added that the evidence does not suggest Sharma used excessive force to ward off Singh’s attack and that of Geeta Maharaj who, it is alleged, bore a child for Sharma. Singh said she had taken Maharaj to Grand Bazaar to confront him about his alleged refusal to financially provide for the child. “Upon his arriving at the mall, Mr Sharma went to Ms Singh’s vehicle and thereafter an altercation ensued,” said Gaspard.
“It was Ms Singh’s evidence that Ms Maharaj proceeded to kick Mr Sharma and to strike him on his head and shoulders. It was also her evidence that while Mr Sharma was being attacked by Ms Maharaj, she (Singh) held on to Mr Sharma’s tie. Mr Sharma then hit her (Singh) a slap and pushed her off, causing her to strike her head on the car. She (Singh) lost consciousness for a brief while before regaining her wits.”
Singh went to hospital the following day and was examined by a doctor who found mild tenderness to the area of her right temple and minor bruising to her chest. The doctor opined that those injuries were inflicted with mild force. Later that day, Singh made a report to St Joseph Police telling Sgt Ogiste that both she and Maharaj were pointing their hands in Sharma’s face and calling him names. Maharaj also admitted to police that she physically attacked Sharma with Singh’s assistance. She said at no time did she see Sharma strike Singh and could not say if he had hit her since, “there was not much lighting.”
Gaspard said when the allegation of assault was put to Sharma by the police, he exercised his right to remain silent. In his conclusion, Gaspard said, “Singh’s version of events surrounding the altercation violently collides with that of Ms Maharaj, in certain material aspects.” Contacted yesterday evening, MP Singh in a subdued tone said, “I have no comment to make at this time until further notice.” Several attempts to reach Sharma for comment were futile.