Two Lethem, Region Nine residents who filed a lawsuit against the Guyana Police Force for wrongful arrest and detention last year, have been awarded judgment in the sum of $4.2M by the High Court.
The judgment was handed down by Chief Justice Roxane George at around 2:00 pm yesterday.
According to the details of the case Corwin Nicholson and Clavis Nicholson, of Lethem, took the police to court citing a violation of their fundamental rights; imposition of cruel and inhuman treatment; and wrongful deprivation of liberty on November 21 and November 22 at Linden Police Station.
In the document filed by attorney-at-law, Saphier Husain-Subedar, it was pointed out that Corwin Nicholson is a contracted worker with RDC Region Nine, while Clavis Nicholson is a businessman with an established store in Lethem for over three years.
The men said that they are remigrants from Barbados and invested in excess of $20M over the years, taking part in loans.
Corwin Nicholson claimed that he is the owner of a registered business ‘3D Construction’ Clavis Nicholson is the owner of ‘Nicholson’s Trading’.
Corwin Nicholson said he owns a mini-van PFF 1508 which is used to transport small and fragile perishable items, including glassware and greens from Georgetown to Lethem.
The men said that on November 21, 2016 at 21:30 pm, they left Georgetown with their minivan fully loaded with perishable and fragile items. There were fish products worth in excess of $15M.
On the Soesdyke/Linden Highway they were stopped by persons wearing police uniforms, except for “one male person who refused to identify himself”.
The men claimed that the person in civilian clothes ordered them out of the vehicle in a hostile and loud manner. The two men complied.
However, Clavis Nicholson asked the man: “Is that the way you speak to civilians? I demanded that he identify himself, in a very courteous manner, but he refused to identify himself and proceeded to enter the bus in a violent manner, but we protested in a courteous way.”
The men were taken to the Wismar Police Station and later, were instructed to drive the bus to the Mackenzie Police Station. There, they were instructed by the unidentified man, dressed in civilian clothing, to sit on the prisoners’ bench.
The men complained in the court document, “That half an hour later, the person in the front gate entered our property and placed us in the ‘lock ups’ at about 11pm. That no reason was given to us, no instructions of right to counsel and no allegation was made against us. We were told that, “when the O.C (Officer in Charge) returns, he will speak with us: Cornel Wallace was the O.C of the station.”
According to the men, the police refused to give them water or food and placed in “a dark hole,” which had the stench of feces and urine.
“About 4:30pm, we were placed on a bail of $30,000 and told to report to court on 29th November, 2016 for Disorderly Behaviour. On 29th November, 2016, we went to the Wismar Magistrate’s Court and were informed that no charge was laid against us.”
However the men contacted the lawyer who advised them to take action, as their rights appeared to have been violated and that “no allegation was made against us, no warrant was read, nor were we informed of any rights whatsoever.”
In addition to the police, the lawsuit listed the Attorney General of Guyana; Commissioner of Police, and a police rank, whose name was given in court documents as Corporal Pamplice, as respondents.
The men had asked the courts to declare that their want was in excess of $100,000 for being wrongfully locked up and in excess of $100,000 for inhuman and degrading treatment.
Yesterday, Justice George awarded judgment to each of the men at $2.1M.
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