Judge refers private autopsy report to CoP

Judge refers private autopsy report to CoP


Jada Loutoo

Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher - Photo by Sureash Cholai
Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher – Photo by Sureash Cholai

A HIGH COURT judge has directed the registrar of the Supreme Court to forward to the Commissioner of Police a copy of injunctive proceedings, including a private autopsy report, filed by the daughter of an 88-year-old woman who suspected her mother was starved to death.

Justice Frank Seepersad made the order on Monday when the matter came back up for hearing.

Last Thursday, Seepersad granted an injunction to the woman’s daughter, Neffriffe Bocas Larkin, who resides in New York.

He also ordered a private autopsy to be done by 9.30 am on Monday while stopping the funeral of Toolin Bocas which was originally scheduled on February 23, the same day the injunction was granted.

When the parties returned to court on Monday morning, the judge was told the autopsy was done by pathologist Dr Hubert Daisley on Friday. A copy was given to the judge.

Seepersad said the copy of the autopsy report and the proceedings to the commissioner will include a notation that concerns were expressed by her daughter about Bocas’s treatment.

He also suggested that Bocas Larkin file an official police report.

While admitting the “issue of elderly abuse is a significant one,” Seepersad said it was for the police to investigate the claims made by Bocas Larkin as they related to the death of her mother on February 11.

“…It becomes a matter for the police.”

He also lifted the stay which prevented Bocas’s funeral from taking place as attorneys for her other daughter, Elisha Bocas, said they hope to have it done on Tuesday.

Bocas Larkin is expected to pay the costs incurred as a result of the postponement of her mother’s funeral, including additional storage costs.

Attorney Varude Badrie-Maharaj, who represented Elisha Bocas, said his client had no issue with the involvement of the police since officers and nurses visited the family’s home a year ago to investigate the very complaint again being made.

Seepersad also struck out Bocas Larkin’s claim, advising she was free to refile a proper one in relation to her mother’s estate and how it was to be distributed. She was ordered to pay her sister’s costs in the sum of $6,300.

In her application, Bocas Larkin, a nurse, claimed there was an ongoing conflict between the parties over her mother’s clinical and nutritional care. It said the conflict arose in the US and ended up in Trinidad.

The lawsuit alleged that Toolin Bocas was kept isolated from family and her assets – which included a US dollar account and proceeds from her monthly pension – were in jeopardy. Bocas Larkin also said she has been denied access to the family’s home, which was left by her father to his wife and four children in his will.

The injunction application included a previous court order in October 2021, giving Bocas Larkin access to her mother, via video and telephone, five times a week and physical, supervised visits.

She was also allowed to provide food, coconut water and medication for her mother. The relatives were ordered not to harass, verbally abuse or threaten each other.

Attorney James Philbert and Carl Mattis represent Bocas Larkin.

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