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A RETIRED police superintendent, who was suspended and bypassed for promotion after being accused of indecent assault, and who won his lawsuit against the Commissioner of Police in 2020, is set to receive $200,000 in compensation from the State.
On Tuesday, Master Sherlanne Pierre awarded retired officer Celestine Phillip damages for the delay by the commissioner to complete an investigation, which led to him having to retire when he reached the mandatory age before he could be promoted to the higher rank of senior superintendent.
In 2018, Phillip received the court’s permission to challenge the commissioner’s failure to make a decision on allegations of indecent assault. Because of the investigation, Phillip was suspended on March 15, 2012. It was lifted on April 5, 2016, when he retired.
During the intervening period, Phillip was successful at the police promotion examination and placed second on the merit list. However, his promotion was kept back because of the pending investigation.
In March 2020, Justice Kevin Ramcharan found that the commissioner acted unlawfully and unreasonably by failing to make a decision in the investigation into the allegation against Phillip.
He said the investigation should have been completed within 12 months of Phillip’s suspension and that he ought to have been promoted if there was no evidence against him. An assessment of damages was referred to a Master.
On Tuesday, Pierre ordered the State to pay general damages in the sum of $125,000, $70,000 for loss of salary and $10,000 for loss of pension.
The State was also ordered to pay Phillip’s legal costs. He was represented by Michael Rooplal, Jamie Amanda Maharaj and Vishan Girwar. The CoP was represented by Karlene Seenath and Amrita Ramsook.