Saturday, February 24, 2018

$85,000 for ‘bad drive’ beating by cops


AWARDED: Nigel Smith at attorney Kevin Ratiram’s office in San Fernando yesterday, after he was awarded $85,000 by the State for being maliciously prosecuted. —Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

Mark Fraser

A MAN who was beaten by two police officers who accused him of a “bad drive” was on Tuesday awarded $85,000 in damages by High Court Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh.

The judge made the order after the State admitted liability in the case in which the victim, Nigel Smith, was arrested and charged but later freed by the court because no evidence was ever led in the matter. Smith, of Longdenville, Chaguanas, stated in court documents that on the night of July 10, 2006, he was driving along Old Golden Grove Road, Piarco, when he passed a vehicle which collided with the left side of his car.

Smith said he pulled his car to the side of the road and stopped and the other vehicle did the same. Smith said he found no damage to his vehicle.

He said a man came out of the other vehicle. Smith said he later found out the man was a police officer.

He said the the officer grabbed him by the throat, saying: “We is police. You want to bad drive people? We go teach you a lesson.”

Smith said a second policeman travelling in the vehicle joined in beating him when he fell to the ground.He said his car was vandalised by one of the officers and a few minutes later, two uniformed officers arrived but ignored him when he related the beating.

Smith said he ended up in a cell at Tunapuna Police Station and released the following morning on a $500 bond, after being charged with unlawfully assaulting a police officer.

The case was called several times in the Arima Magistrates’ Court and dismissed on February 18, 2010.

Justice Bodoosingh, presiding in the Hall of Justice, ordered the State to pay Smith $40,000 in general damages, $20,000 in exemplary damages, and $4,500 in special damages, along with three per cent interest, and $16,900 in costs.

Smith was represented by attorneys Kevin Ratiram and Charlene Kalloo.