Griffith restructures TTPS legal department to address backlog cases
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has announced that he has ordered the restructuring of the police service’s legal department due to a backlog of cases he has inherited since he assumed office.
This follows a High Court judge's ruling on Monday that Griffith could face contempt of court or a jail sentence if he fails to carry out a court order to reclassify the leave of retired corporal Ashrad Pariagsingh from “no-pay” to “injury leave with pay”.
The matter stems from an incident which occurred on May 8, 2012. Pariagsingh went to make checks at the back of the La Brea Police Station where he was stationed when he fell on a wet slippery floor. The police human resource department reportedly asked Pariagsingh to continue submitting medical certificates and informed him he would continue to receive his salary since his time off would be classified as injury leave. In 2015, Pariagsingh was informed that he would have to repay the salary he received and in 2016, he was told that his over $400,000 salary he received at the time, would be deducted from his back pay and gratuity.
As a result, Pariagsingh filed legal action for judicial review.
Since the judgement delivered by Justice Frank Seepersad in October last, the office of the Commissioner of Police has failed to reclassify the retired Cpl’s time which means that the top cop could face penalties of his own.
Arising out of today’s hearing, Griffith ordered the transfer of some employees from the legal unit of the TTPS.
“Today, I authorized and signed the transfer of persons out of the Legal Unit in the restructuring of that department in order to address the shortcomings, achieve set objectives and meet deadlines on all outstanding and present legal matters and challenges,” Griffith said in a statement issued by the TTPS.
The release further noted that the previous legal unit seemed to be moving at snail's pace noting that Griffith inherited over 150 legal challenges and as a result, has begun restructuring the legal department to ensure it keeps up with the pace needed to address present and outstanding matters which were inherited by the new Commissioner of Police.
The statement added that since November 2018, Griffith had given a directive to have all backlog of cases adhered to by the legal unit of the Trinidad TTPS which has seemingly not occurred