THE State was ordered to compensate a cargo loader in the sum of $158,000 for malicious prosecution. Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell made the order in favour of Allister Richards.
In her ruling, the judge said she considered Richards, a middle-aged man, respectably employed in a job related to law enforcement. “Reputation is as important to him as it is to anyone. Having a criminal matter in court for years would impact adversely on his reputation,” the judge said.
She ruled that the factors required for a finding of malicious prosecution were clearly established. Richards was charged with driving without due care and attention, arising from a collision on May 18, 2008, at Manahambre Road, Princes Town.
The case ended in a no-case submission being upheld and Richards was discharged by then magistrate Avason Quinlan-Williams, who found the evidence of the police to be inconsistent.
Donaldson-Honeywell said her findings turned on which version of events she accepted as more probable. She found the police officer who testified was “far less believable as a witness.”
The judge said there were material inconsistencies between the police officer’s evidence under cross-examination compared to his witness statement, the station diary and his magistrates’ court testimony. She said the police failed to show a cause for arrest, adding, “It is also my finding that the charge was actuated by malice.” Richards was represented by attorney Kevin Ratiram and Daniella Boxhill represented the State.