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$60,000 compensation for wrongful arrest

By Innis Francis innis.francis@trinidadexpress.com

AN innocent man—arrested, charged and prosecuted by police despite insisting that they arrested the wrong man—will be compensated $60,000.

The damages were assessed by Master Patricia Sobion yesterday in the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, after the State opted not to defend the actions of the police.

Attorney Kevin Ratiram had filed a lawsuit on behalf of Akil Crawford, a 29-year-old labourer of Fyzabad, for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Crawford stated in court documents that on the afternoon of August 13, 2009, police officers came to his home, asking if he was Akil (another surname).

Crawford said he was not and did not know any Teffari Clark, the victim of a robbery.

Crawford said he was told that Clark had alleged that an Akil (another surname) had robbed him.

Crawford said he knew nothing, but was still arrested and taken to Marabella Police Station.

Crawford continued to insist he was not the correct Akil and asked to be placed on an identification parade.

He was denied and told by a police officer that he (the officer) was sure Crawford was the robber.

Crawford was charged with armed robbery of a gold chain worth $8,000.

When he appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington in the San Fernando Magistrates' Court, Ratiram intervened and told the court that Crawford was never identified.

Wellington asked the victim, who was in court, if Crawford was the one who robbed him. The man said Crawford was not.

Crawford was granted bail and the case adjourned to the next day.

However, Crawford could not access bail and went to Remand Yard, Golden Grove, Arouca that night.

He was freed on the charge the following day.

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