Thursday 4 June, 2020

Court awards Tobago man $50,000 for false imprisonment

A Tobago man has been awarded $50,000 for false imprisonment.

Herschelle Stewart was arrested in October 2017 in Bon Accord, Tobago, as part of inquiries in connection with a housebreaking incident.

However, he was never charged.

Stewart claimed he was in custody for three days, but the station diary extracts paint the picture that he was in custody for 16 hours before being released.

Despite this, Justice Frank Seepersad still ruled on Stewart’s behalf as the evidence presented in the case showed that there was neither an objective nor subjective basis upon which the arresting officer detained the 27-year-old.

He noted that in this jurisdiction, police could not arbitrarily interfere with a citizen's right to liberty and the onus is on the police to justify an arrest whenever one is made.

'In this jurisdiction, the police has no authority to detain a person of interest and cannot detain a person for questioning unless the officer holds the objective view that there is reasonable and probable cause to suspect that the said individual has committed an arrestable offence,” Seepersad said. 

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