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Athlete released in Tobago “hit and run”; but still subject to police enquiries into road fatality

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service released a star international athlete without charge this afternoon, pending further enquiries into his possible role in a road fatality.

The athlete, accompanied by an attorney, surrendered to the Barataria Police Station on Sunday and was taken to Tobago the following morning to be placed on an identification parade.

Photo: The silhouette of a baton handoff.

Although the identity of the athlete is withheld for legal reasons, the victim was 55-year-old Tobagonian Lenora Patrick, who was killed on 1 July 2018.

However, after three days in custody, the police still had not charged the athlete and, after lunch today, he was released. A TTPS source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stressed that the release did not mean charges could not still be laid.

Attorney Matthew Gayle explained that the athlete’s release means there was no confession of guilt and the police were either dissatisfied with their current evidence or awaiting instructions from the DPP.

“It is proper to hold someone for up to 48 hours and—if there is not enough evidence or if they don’t have the necessary operational instructions to charge—to then release,” Gayle told Wired868. “The maximum holding time ought to be 48 hours but sometimes they go for as long as 72 hours. Often the police would wait for the person to apply to a judge for their release; but, if they haven’t laid charges by then, the right thing is to release.

“But then, if you get the necessary information, you can re-arrest… It is unusual to release to re-arrest, but they do have that power.”

Photo: Members of the Police Service march during the 2018 Independence Day parade in Port of Spain.
(Copyright Ministry of National Security)

Patrick, who lived on Mary’s Hill, was found by a jogger, on 4 July, lying in a drain east of Auchenskeoch roundabout on the Claude Noel Highway. Police believe she had been there for three days.

An autopsy conducted by pathologist Dr Eastlyn McDonald-Burris at the Scarborough General Hospital revealed blunt force trauma, a broken neck and multiple broken bones. Then Assistant Commissioner of Police, Garfield Moore, suggested that the injuries were consistent with that of a car accident.

It is believed that the body was moved from the site of the accident to where it was eventually discovered.

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