State to pay for malicious prosecution over camouflage items
A forklift operator from Arima will receive compensation from the State for his unlawful arrest and prosecution by the police in 2017, for possession of camouflage items.
The alleged prohibited camouflage items were an army pouch and hat which belonged to Jerel Jaron Bedeau’s brother, an officer in the Defence Force.
The police went to Bedeau’s home on January 5, 2017, allegedly to execute a warrant for arms and ammunition.
During a search, they found the army pouch and hat in a suitcase and although Bedeau’s mother told them they belonged to her eldest son, the 29-year-old was still arrested and taken to the Arouca police station, where he was initially booked for “robbery enquiries.”
Bedeau remained in custody for three days and four nights without being charged, even though his brother went to the station and told officers the items seized were not Bedeau’s.
On January 9, he was eventually taken to the Arima magistrates court, granted bail and released.
On May 5, 2017, magistrate Alicia Chankar dismissed the charge against Bedeau after the police officer who charged him failed to show up in court on any of the days the case was called, with any type of evidence.
After he was freed, Bedeau’s attorneys Shervon Noreiga, Joel Roper and Gerard Boodram filed the civil claim for compensation.
They complained Bedeau was deprived of his liberty, wrongfully detained, not advised or afforded his constitutional rights and had suffered losses because of his wrongful arrest.
In addition to compensatory and aggravated damages for malicious prosecution, unlawful arrest and detention, assault and battery and false imprisonment, Bedeau also asked for exemplary or punitive damages, which are awarded by a court against a defendant as a public example of conduct not to engage in.
After a virtual hearing, Justice Ricky Rahim ordered the State to pay Bedeau damages for malicious prosecution, including aggravated and exemplary damages, arising out of the charges laid against him.
The State was also ordered to pay his costs.The quantum of damages is to be assessed by a Master.
"State to pay for malicious prosecution over camouflage items"