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Friday 21 September 2018
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Judge: Charge prison officers

UPDATE:

A CALL has been made for criminal charges to be laid against prison officers involved in prison beatings.

Making the call was Justice Frank Seepersad, who yesterday awarded an additional $20,000 to a prisoner who was beaten on his head and face by a prison guard at the Port of Spain Prison on Frederick Street, in 2010.

Shaleem Shazim Mohammed was initially granted compensation in 2014, and he appealed. The Appeal Court sent the matter back to Seepersad for assessment in which he revised the general damages, bringing it up to $45,000 while the compensatory and exemplary damages remained the same at $45,000. He also ordered that the amount accrue interest at 2.5 per cent and ordered the State to pay Mohammed’s legal costs. Mohammed was represented by attorney Gerald Ramdeen. In his revised assessment, Seepersad said the type of conduct by the prison officers was “reprehensible.”

He also said the punitive nature of the award of damages was hardly realised when taxpayers have to pay. In calling for a review of the national security apparatus, Seepersad said a zero-tolerance approach must be taken for errant functionaries of the State to have them account for their actions.

He suggested that the State refer the matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions for him to consider whether criminal assault charges should be laid indictably against prison officers. He also called for disciplinary action to be taken.

Mohammed, said on July 5, 2010, he was a location orderly and was doing his daily checks of inmates in their cells when he was told by prison officer Imran Khan to go bathe and stand in his prison cell.

He said he told Khan he was in the process of tabulating the roster for the night and if he did as was told he would not be able to complete it. After some exchange between the two, Mohammed said as he was walking to his cell located in the “shallows”, he was told to go into cell No 10, although his cell was No 2. He said Khan was choking him and hitting his head against the wall.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A CALL has been made for criminal charges to be laid against prison officers involved in prison beatings. Making the call was Justice Frank Seepersad who today awarded an additional $20,000 to a prisoner who was beaten on his head and face by a prison guard at the Port of Spain Prison in 2010.

In all, Shaleem Mohammed will receive $90,000 in compensation for the beating. The judge also said the punitive nature of the award of damages was hardly realised when taxpayers have to pay.

In calling for a review of the national security apparatus, Seepersad said a zero-tolerance approach must be taken for errant functionaries of the State and have them account for their actions.

He suggested that the State refer the matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions for him to consider whether criminal assault charges should be laid indictably against prison officers. He also called for disciplinary action to be taken.

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