Monday 17 December, 2018

State to pay police corporal $100,000 after 49-hr detention

A police corporal, who was detained in 2012 on suspicions of theft, has been granted an estimated $100,000 by a high court judge.

Corporal Keston Garcia had a civil matter before the Port of Spain Assizes.

The matter was heard before Justice Nadia Kangaloo.

He was represented by attorneys Abdel Mohammed and Shabaana Mohammed.

The court was told that Garcia had been detained for 49 hours, starting from July 12, 2012, on suspicion of being involved in the theft of 14 cases of vodka in 2012.

A team of officers, including now-retired acting Commissioner Raymond Craig and Sgt Michael Veronique of the Professional Standards Bureau, visited Garcia’s home in Wallerfield with a search warrant for arms and ammunition.

The corporal informed his senior officers that he had nothing illegal in his home and allowed them inside. However, while at the home, Craig opened a cupboard and took out two bottles of alcohol and then surprised the corporal by informing him that he was being arrested in relation to allegations of a kidnapping and robbery in which three police officers took 14 cases of Smirnoff vodka from three people who were leaving the port of Port of Spain.

The corporal then spent the next 49-hours in custody and was placed under three identification parades. He was not successfully pointed out in any.

By law, a person can be detained for up to 48 hours, or longer with the permission of the court.

In her ruling, Kangaloo held that the police did not have reasonable cause to suspect that Garcia had committed the alleged offence of robbery.

He was awarded $65,000 in compensation with an additional $7,085 in interest for the 49 hours he spent in police custody.

The State was also ordered to pay $27,617 in legal costs.


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