Security firm loses appeal over gun kept by police

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: The Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

THE Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed the appeal of a security firm that challenged the decision of a High Court master who did not award special damages for loss of profit the company claimed.

The loss would have arisen from the company’s inability to use a gun seized by the police in a shooting incident in 2010.

In an oral decision, Justices of Appeal Gregory Smith, Vasheist Kokaram and Malcolm Holdip dismissed the appeal of Alphega Security Ltd.

Smith said the appeal was “far-fetched,” since the company failed to provide evidence it suffered a loss of profit from not being able to provide firearm services to clients.

In the assessment, Master Martha Alexander awarded Alphega $258,720 for damages for the police detention of the gun; $20,000 exemplary damages; and $5,000 to the security guard who fired the gun.

Smith said the master’s assessment and award were not outside the range of a reasonable award.

“Having failed to show loss of profit, we dismiss the appeal.”

The police took the gun after a shooting incident on April 26, 2010, in St Augustine, in which the security guard tried to foil a robbery.

The gun was eventually returned to Alphega in February 2016, because of a court order. Before its return, Alphega filed a claim over the detention and conversion of the Glock 19. In November 2015, it received judgment in default of a defence.

At the assessment for damages, the company claimed it lost several contracts during the time the gun and the Firearms Users Employee Certificate were held by the police. The company also claimed it could not obtain other guns because of the police investigation, so it could not expand its business at a time when there was a significant rise in crime and a high demand for gun security.

Alphega Security was represented by attorney Seana Baboolal. Monica Smith and Amrita Ramsook appeared for the State.