Judge to rule on El Socorro man’s assault and battery claim

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

– File photo

A HIGH COURT judge is expected to rule on a complaint filed by an electrical engineer who alleged police assaulted him during a raid at his family’s home in El Socorro because he was said to be part of an alleged plot to disrupt 2018 Carnival celebrations.

Justice Westmin James reserved his decision in Wasim Mohammed’s assault-and-battery complaint to July 10, after a two-day trial that ended on March 12.

Mohammed alleged he was assaulted by a group of police officers as they executed a warrant at his apartment at his family’s home at Mohammedville, El Socorro, on February 8, 2018.

His younger brother was arrested and detained for several days before being released without charges being laid. He has filed a separate lawsuit, which is expected to go to trial in May.

On March 11, Mohammed and his wife Hannah, who migrated after the incident, testified from their home in Ontario, Canada.

He claimed the police broke their front door and forced their way into their apartment and did not show them the warrant.

“I was not shown any police badges or identification cards,” he said.

He said the officers beat him after they broke down his front door with a battering ram. He is seeking compensation for his medical bills and the damage to the door.

Also testifying at the trial were police photographer PC Malcolm Wilson and retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Wendy Wilkinson, who was head of the Special Branch, which was tasked with probing the alleged terrorism plot.

Wilkinson, who retired in 2019, said several weeks before the raid, her department received information about the plot.

The police first revealed the alleged plot and arrested several people. They were later released.

In separate press conferences, the Prime Minister, former national security minister Edmund Dillon and then acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said the threat was legitimate.

Mohammed was represented by Alvin Ramroop, Kingsley Walesby, and Sarfraz Alsaran. The State was represented by a team of attorneys led by Senior Counsel Russell Martineau.