A POLICEMAN who was detained by police for 49 hours on suspicion of being involved in the theft of 14 cases of vodka in 2012 has been awarded $72,085 in compensation by a high court judge.
Justice Nadia Kangaloo yesterday awarded Cpl Keston Garcia $65,000 in compensation and an additional $7,085 in interest for the 49 hours he spent in police custody. The State was also ordered to pay $27,617 in legal costs. In her ruling, Kangaloo held that the police did not have reasonable cause to suspect that Garcia had committed the alleged offence of robbery.
Garcia of Sandstone Extension East, Demerara Heights, Wallerfield, was at home on July 12, 2012, at about 11 pm, when police came to his home with a search warrant.
He said retired acting Commissioner Raymond Craig and Sgt Michael Veronique of the Professional Standards Bureau told him they had a warrant to search his home for arms and ammunition.
Garcia said he denied he had the items listed on the warrant, but allowed them to search. He said Craig opened a cupboard, took out a bottle of Goldschlager and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka, and said, “This is what we looking for.” Garcia was then told of an alleged kidnapping and robbery involving three police officers who took 14 cases of Smirnoff vodka from three people who were leaving the Port of Spain port.
Garcia was put on three ID parades but was not identified in any.
In all he was kept in police custody for 49 hours, and then an additional eight hours before he was released from the Central Police Station in Port of Spain.
At the trial before Kangaloo, which took place on November 6, the State offered no evidence.
Kangaloo said Garcia was a well known police officer of 13 years’ experience and suffered embarrassment and distress as he was arrested by his peers in the Police Service.
He was represented by attorneys Abdel Mohammed and Shabaana Mohammed.