ATTORNEYS for Sangre Grande music producer Alan Brizan, who was interviewed by police at his home for hours after a social media tit-for-tat with Police Commissioner Gary Griffith in February, have accused the top cop of intimidation and misfeasance in public office.
A pre-action protocol letter, setting out in detail Griffith’s alleged infractions, was served on the commissioner and the Office of the Attorney General on Thursday.
Brizan was interviewed for hours after he posted information on February 9 to social media relating to the disappearance and murder of court clerk Andrea Bharatt.
The post said that “after two weeks of information on the disappearance of Bharatt, the only three facts established were: Bharatt is dead, two police-detained suspects were “brutally” killed and; “the TTPS all the way up to the commissioner of police were distorting all the facts of the case from day one.”
Brizan was later visited by officers of the Professional Standards Bureau.
Minutes after he made that post, Griffith sent him a message.
Griffith also said he had reported Brizan's post to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), which was doing an independent investigation, and was contemplating filing a defamation lawsuit of his own.
In the pre-action letter, Brizan is also alleging false imprisonment for three hours when he was subjected to an interview with the police.
Griffith has been accused of using his office to procure, coerce, and/or compel Brizan’s submission to the interview, using it as a tool of intimidation and not for any legitimate police investigation.
The commissioner was also accused of having wilfully and maliciously caused Brizan to alter his Facebook post and engaged in conduct designed to further intimidate the former media writer and graphic artist.
Brizan’s attorneys Akiri Heath-Adams, Joash Huggins, Christophe Rodriguez and Larry Boyer, said the commissioner’s actions caused several breaches of their client’s rights, including the right to security, not to be deprived of his liberty without due process, the right to protection of the law, and the right of freedom of thought and expression.
The letter, written by Heath-Adams, said Griffith caused the two officers who interviewed Brizan at his Guaico home, to detain him knowing there was no reasonable ground to believe he could assist in police investigations into Bharatt’s disappearance and murder.
The letter also said Brizan feared the officers were plotting to use the information they took in a written statement, which he signed, to “implicate him in criminal activity.”
"We have advised the proposed claimant that the actions of Mr Gary Griffith and/or his agents have given rise to actionable claims in the torts of misfeasance in public office, false imprisonment and intimidation," Heath-Adams said in the letter.
"The proposed claimant instructs that the correspondences received from Mr Griffith had the effect of making the proposed claimant feel intimidated and compelled to retract his criticisms and extend praise and appreciation instead," Heath-Adams said.
The attorney said as a result of Griffith's alleged conduct, his client has suffered embarrassment and injury to his dignity and pride and this has been amplified by the widespread publicity which the incident attracted both on social and in print media.
The letter said Brizan would be entitled to significant damages.
Griffith has 28 days in which to respond to the letter.