The Government has conceded that the state was liable in the torture of 19-year-old Sparendaam
resident, Junior Thornton, and has settled with the young man to the tune of $1.5M.
Kaieteur News understands that the State, through Attorney General Anil Nandlall, threw in the towel in the constitution motion which was filed in late June by Attorney at Law Dexter Todd on behalf of Thornton, opting not to offer a defence.
The decision not to challenge the motion is a clear admission by the state that Thornton did suffer torture at the hands of the police, while he was in custody at the Sparendaam Police Station late in May month.
However, according to Attorney at Law Todd, this will in no way bring an end to the criminal matter for which police Constable Earwin Forrester is before a Magistrate; nor is it related to the civil action brought against Forrester and Commissioner of Police(Ag) Seelall Persaud for damages for personal injuries.
Another related criminal matter regarding the Attempt to Pervert the Course of Justice brought against a Police Inspector, who happens to be a relative of the victim, was dismissed on October 10 last.
Junior Thornton was picked up for loitering and was held in the Sparendaam Police Station lock-ups for a few days.
It is alleged that he began behaving in a disorderly manner and refused to desist when asked to do so by the ranks on duty.
He told relatives that the ranks became angry and they saturated his hands with the flammable liquid before setting fire to it.
Thornton was released with his badly burnt hands and was immediately taken to the hospital by his relatives.
There was a huge public outcry over the incident which culminated in the criminal charges and the subsequent civil matters.
Yesterday, Thornton’s attorney said that there was clear evidence that the young man was tortured hence the state “saw no sense in defending that.”
“After a few hearings the state offered to settle the matter,” Todd told this newspaper.
According to Todd, the amount of the settlement should not be seen as the big picture. He said what is important is the recognition of the state that there was torture.
“The State recognized that the police actions were not in keeping with the Constitution. I commend the Attorney General because he did not waste the court’s time. We have to look at the bigger picture here. It is not all about the money. I don’t want the public to think that the amount that was settled for is all that my client was worth,” the Attorney at Law stated.
He is firmly of the view that the move by the Attorney General will give strength to the criminal matter as well as the civil action brought against the Commissioner of Police.
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