A HIGH COURT judge has awarded a Claxton Bay man a little over $200,000 for wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and wrongful detention of his goods after an arrest in 2013, while at a friend’s home at Cedar Hill.
Another man, who was also arrested by police in that incident, last year was awarded $270,000 in compensation.
The police officer who charged the two men is currently before the courts for the murder of a San Fernando man in 2016, and his conduct in Kevin Perry’s arrest was frowned on by Justice Nadia Kangaloo who delivered her ruling in Perry’s lawsuit against the State on Friday.
Perry was represented by attorneys Abdel Mohammed and Shabanna Mohammed while the State was represented by attorney Laura Persad.
In total, Perry received $205,000, plus interest, in compensation and costs.
Perry was arrested on March 30, 2013, while he and two friends were liming at a friend’s house. He was charged with possession of a firearm, five rounds of ammunition and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
In her decision on Friday, Kangaloo held that the police officers who arrested the men acted unlawfully and improperly. She held that their actions continued to damage the reputation of the police service, and the majority of hard-working, honest police officers.
Kangaloo called on the Commissioner of Police to intervene to stop errant police officers from tainting the police service.
According to the judge, the demeanour of the police in Perry’s case, at trial, was arrogant. She singled out one of the officers in particular, saying he showed little respect for the court.
She also found his evidence to be incredible and lacked proper motive to arrest Perry as he could provide no evidence to support his claim that he conducted surveillance at the house based on information from an informant.
The absence of such evidence, she said led the court to find that there was no motive for Perry’s arrest, adding that the excuse of this information being “sensitive” was weak.
According to the judge, the conduct of the police was in breach of the police service’s standing orders.
She also found that claims by the police that a DJI Phantom 3 drone was used during the surveillance operation to be untrue since such a drone never existed at the time of Perry’s arrest. Perry’s attorneys provided evidence to show that the Phantom 3 drone was first released in 2015.
She also did not accept claims by the police that Perry’s DNA was allegedly found on the gun.
In his lawsuit, Perry said after he was arrested police went to his home at Cedar Hill Road where they ransacked it and removed a gold bracelet, a gold ring, and a carton of cigarettes.
Perry remained in prison for some 62 days before he was able to secure bail, and made ten appearances in the Couva Magistrates’ Court before the charges against him were dismissed as the prosecution had no file, had no excuse for the absence of the police officer who charged him, no witnesses and no exhibits to present to the court.