By Azard Ali
April 18, 2016 – newsday.co.tt
A CENTRAL Trinidad doctor is being investigated by police for performing an abortion on a 16-year-old girl. Detectives from the Chaguanas CID said the doctor is facing imminent arrest as Section 56 of the Offences Against the Persons Act, states a person is guilty of an indictable offence if he or she uses an instrument to procure the miscarriage of any woman.
As police investigations continue, the teenage girl herself is also facing criminal prosecution, for what might be deemed in law as acting in a manner to procure her own miscarriage. Police investigations into abortion have been done in the past, but no one has ever been charged under the Section 56 Offences Against the Persons Act. According to a police report, the teenager was arrested last Wednesday after a report was made to the Chaguanas Police Station, that she had gone to a doctor’s office the day before to have the abortion done. According to the report, the girl who is from Caroni Savannah Road, was three months pregnant. After arrest, she was taken to the Chaguanas Police Station where, according to a police report, she told investigators about the circumstances of how she became pregnant.
Police told Newsday the matter of how she became pregnant, is being investigated as a separate case with a view to laying a charge against the man who had intercourse with her, as she is a minor in the eyes of the law and cannot give lawful consent to engage in sexual intercourse. District Medical Officer for Chaguanas, Dr Vikash Ramlogan, was notified and the girl was medically examined.
Police officers obtained a statement from the girl at the police station. Officers then notified attorneys of the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority and a duty counsel was assigned to the case.
The attorney arrived at the Chaguanas Station minutes before midnight on Friday and advised the girl of her rights and as well, the duties of the police in the pursuit of their investigations.
Another statement was recorded from the girl.
Police detectives subsequently visited the medical doctor’s office and interviewed him. Newsday learned that medical notes regarding the surgical procedure performed on the girl, were also examined. A procedure would have to be followed in order for the police to obtain the girl’s medical notes and that is to be done this week, sources said.
Newsday was told the baby that was aborted by the doctor, was four-months-old. The teenage girl has since been released from police custody, into the care of her parents. Newsday was told that investigations are being conducted further, in which the doctor is to be interviewed today and who, would be asked to give a statement.
A senior police source said that three charges are expected to be laid, firstly, against the girl for procuring her own abortion; secondly, against the doctor for facilitating the abortion; and thirdly, a charge against the person who had sexual intercourse with the girl, is to be laid as well.
The abortion charges are to be laid under Section 56, of the Offences Against the Persons Act, which states that every woman, being with a child, who, with intent to procure her own miscarriage, unlawfully administers to herself any poison, or, other noxious thing, or unlawfully uses any instrument or other means whatsoever with the like intent, or any person who, with intent to procure a miscarriage of any woman, whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to her or causes to be taken by her any poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully uses any instrument or other means with like intent, is liable to imprisonment for four years. Woman Police Constable Mohan is investigating.