A HIGH COURT judge has condemned the actions of two policemen who sexually harassed a suspect they arrested and held for two days at the Four Roads station in February 2017, before releasing her without charges.
Justice Devindra Rampersad on Thursday also ordered that the matter referred to Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine whether disciplinary and criminal action should be brought against the two policemen.
Rampersad’s orders were part of a ruling in favour of certified massage therapist Shanelle Sinnerine, who filed a claim for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment at the police station from February 14-16, 2017.
In an oral decision, Rampersad awarded $75,000 compensation for her unlawful arrest and false imprisonment and a further $ 70,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages to highlight the court’s disapproval ofthe unprofessional, reprehensible and degrading conduct of the police officers. The State was also ordered to pay the legal costs for Sinnerine’s legal team, led by Anand Ramlogan, SC, and Ganesh Saroop.
Sinnerine was arrested at her boyfriend’s businessplace in Belmont. She said he told her the police were investigating the theft of his white Nissan Tiida car. She said when she got to the businessplace, two male police officers heckled her and made sexual advances.
Sinnerine and her boyfriend were both taken to the Four Roads police station, where they were kept for approximately three days.
Throughout her entire detention, she maintained her innocence and explained where she was when the alleged theft took place.
She said throughout an interview, one of the policemen was highly inappropriate towards her and made sexual advances, and the other verbally abused her when she suggested the police check the camera footage to verify her alibi. She also gave them the names of people she interacted with as well as her calendar and appointments.
Sinnerine complained about the condition of the cell she was kept in at the station and pleaded for a phone call, but was ignored. She said she had to use a hole in the ground of the cell as a toilet and had no privacy, with male officers staring at her while she did so.
She alleged she was forced to confess to a crime she did not commit, and told if she did not do so, there would be a negative impact on her business and she would be held longer.
Sinnerine was also subjected to a confrontation parade, but was not identified by the alleged victim, and said the police tried to force her to confess to a crime she did not commit.
Attorneys Stefan Jaikaran and Savitri Maharaj represented the Attorney General.