BUSINESSMAN Inshan Ishmael and two others are seeking compensation from the State for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment arising out of their arrest in 2016 for allegedly protesting outside the Guardian building in Chaguanas.
At the time, it was alleged that Ishmael and two others were part of a demonstration outside the newspaper’s offices over a column which appeared on July 6, the Eid holiday, headlined “How not to be killed by Islamists.”
Ishmael was charged with leading a protest and the two otherswith protesting without a permit.
In their lawsuit, the three said their arrest, detention and prosecution were heavily based on the police’s interpretation of religious action and was malicious in that regard.
Ishmael owns and runs the Islamic Broadcast Network (IBN). The two others who were also arrested and charged were Wasim Daniel, a producer with IBN, and Devendra Partap, who is self-employed and had only got off a bus on the Uriah Butler Highway with the intention of walking into Chaguanas to get a taxi to San Fernando.
The incident occurred on July 25, 2016.
The lawsuit said Ishmael and his employee were dressed in T-shirts with the IBN logo, while Partap was just nearby.
It said the three were called out by a police officer who arrived at about 4 pm with some 20 other officers in a police bus.
The lawsuit said the three complied with the police’s instructions but were arrested and put in the bus.
It added that none of the three were told why they were being arrested but were taken to the Chaguanas police station, where they were charged.
They were kept in a cell in the station for some ten hours and on July 29, they appeared before a Chaguanas magistrate and were granted their own bail.
The claim said the three appeared in court on 23 occasions, spending a total $39,000 between them on legal fees and on May 10, 2018, the the magistrate found them not guilty.
Because of his arrest and the charge against him, Ishmael said, he suffered ridicule from his peers and the business community which resulted in financial loss.The claim said a contract he had with the Ministry of National security to repair police vehicles was not renewed as a result. Partap, who had a registered security firm, was unable to get contracts or obtain a police certificate of good character.
It also said Partap was unable to find work and became depressed and suicidal. It added that even during the trial at the magistrates’ court, the magistrate had to provide counselling for him because he appeared visibly distressed.
The three are claiming for general damages for unlawful arrest, unlawful detention, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, in addition to aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as special damages to recover the amount they spent to pay their attorneys to represent them at the magistrates’ court.
The claim said the State had ample time to discontinue the charges.
The three are represented by attorneys Richard Jaggasar and Nigel Trancuso.