CUSTOMS CLERK Peter Griffith has notified the State of his intention to seek damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment after he was detained by police officers during a murder investigation.
Griffith, of Claxton Bay, is claiming his constitutional rights were infringed over the two days he was in police custody.
In a letter from defence attorney Cedric Neptune, Griffith advised that he was arrested at his home on the morning of August 26 as a suspect in the killing of Tevin Alexander, who was found dead hours earlier.
The 18-year-old, who was seen running from a fight outside a bar, was found at the side of Cedar Hill Road, Claxton Bay with a gunshot wound to the head.
Alexander's brother, Antonio Alexander, has since been charged with manslaughter in relation to the death. Griffith was held by officers from the Couva Criminal Investigations Department and Southern Homicide Bureau of Investigations.
Griffith claimed that upon his arrest, he was never cautioned or told of his constitutional rights that he is allowed a legal adviser of his choice.
He maintained that he had no involvement in Alexander's death or any information on the circumstances surrounding the teen's killing.
But Griffith said that the pants and jersey, valued $250, which he was wearing the night before he was arrested, were taken and his hands and behind his ears were "swabbed" by a female police officer "in full view of members of the public".
He claimed he was made to sleep on the cold concrete floor of a "filthy cell" and to endure the "horrid smell" of the cell at Mon Repos police station he shared with men charged with criminal offences.
Griffith said he was allowed a bath the day after he was arrested, but was unable to brush his teeth during his detention as he was told there were no facilities to do so.
Neptune said Griffith was interviewed by officers from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations for three and a half hours and a statement recorded.
The defence attorney said the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority was not informed of Griffith's detention on the suspicion of murder.
"In fact, it is noteworthy to mention that our client was also never informed of his right to instruct and retain without delay a legal advisor of his choice," Neptune said.
Griffith was released with no charges being laid against him.
He claimed the incident caused him mental anguish, distress and inconvenience and the behaviour of the officers was "illegal, harsh, arbitrary, oppressive and or unconstitutional".
Griffith, who was never in trouble with the law in the past, is seeking damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment, legal fees and payment of $250 for his lost clothing, monetary compensation for the violation of his constitutional rights and interest and costs.
The State has been given 42 days from the date of the letter to respond before High Court proceedings are taken.