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High Court cuts police inspector’s imprisonment to a few hours for allegedly insulting magistrate

Inspector Prem Narine

The High Court on Wednesday slashed a seven-day prison term imposed on Detective Police Inspector Prem Narine to less than one day, saying the penalty for allegedly insulting a City Magistrate was “excessive”.

Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire reduced the jail term imposed by Magistrate Rondel Weever to less than one day and ordered that the police officer be locked up until 4:30 pm.

She ordered that the detention for the abridged period be deemed served and that he be released from custody.

“Having read the application and heard Counsel for the applicant, it is the decision of this court that on the facts disclosed, the punishment of seven days imprisonment for the charge of unlawfully insulting a magistrate… was excessive and it is hereby ordered that…there be a partial remission of the sentence imposed to reflect the detention from the time the order of sentence was passed on the 22nd day of May, 2019 to no later than 16:30 hours on the said 22nd day of May, 2019,” the High Court order states.

Narine, during a case of Police vs Mohamed Ali, at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court had repeatedly asked that his memory be refreshed during examination.

The police officer and Magistrate Weever eventually ended up in a verbal tangle over allegations that they had shouted at each other. After the Magistrate ordered Inspector Narine to be seated, he instead continued to express himself audibly and walked out of the courtroom.

The Magistrate then instructed a constable to arrest Narine at which stage he objected on the ground that the constable was junior to him and could not detain him. Narine was told of the offence, taken to a holding area for prisoners to begin his seven days’ imprisonment.

He was later taken to a city hospital, having complained a number of times of feeling unwell.