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Trini-born judge handles Sankat case

Published: 
Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Trinidad and Tobago national, Nishal Sankat as he appeared in the Brevard County Jail's court proceedings yesterday to answer three charges related to his boarding of an American Airlines aircraft in Floriday Thursday morning.

The judge Nishal Sankat stood before in a Brevard County Jail courtroom on Friday was Trinidadian born.

Justice Rhonda E Babb, who denied the 22-year-old a US$20,500 bond after the prosecution raised fears he was a flight risk due to his dual citizenship in Canada and this country, is a Trinidad-born member of the Caribbean Association of Women Judges.

Babb, who graduated from the Brooklyn School of law school in 1984, has served on the Florida County bench since 2002, after being appointed by then Florida governor Jeb Bush.

She was elected unanimously by Brevard's County Court Judges to serve as an administrative judge in 2004 (Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Courts).

Babb is also a member of the Brevard County Association for Women Lawyers, Florida Bar Association and National Bar Association. As a Trinidadian woman, she is also a member of the Caribbean Association of Women Judges.

In 2006, the Caribbean Bar Association presented her the Outstanding Achievement Award for her contributions to the legal profession.

In 2016, Babb was honoured with the Nguzo Saba Visionary Award. In July 2015 she took the reins of Florida Mental Health Court. The court caters to non-violent offenders with mental illness.

Offenders enter into a one-year programme where they are assigned a case manager and are mandated to make all doctor and court appointments, take medications and speak weekly with their case manager in order to have their charges dropped.

Sankat, the son of former University of the West Indies principal Professor Clement Sankat, is charged with attempting to steal an American Airlines airbus 321 at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Florida on Thursday, violation of a visa and criminal trespassing. His trial date was set October 18.

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