Justice Ricky Rahim –
A forklift operator from Arima will receive over $100,000 in compensation from the State for his unlawful arrest and prosecution by the police in 2017, for possession of camouflage items.
The alleged prohibited camouflage items were an army pouch and hat which belonged to Jerel Jaron Bedeau’s brother, an officer in the Defence Force.
The police went to Bedeau’s home on January 5, 2017, allegedly to execute a warrant for arms and ammunition.
During a search, they found the army pouch and hat in a suitcase and although the police were told the items belonged to his brother, the 29-year-old was still arrested and taken to the Arouca police station, where he was initially booked for “robbery enquiries.”
Bedeau remained in custody for three days and four nights without being charged.
On January 9, he was eventually taken to the Arima magistrates court, granted bail and released.
On May 5, 2017, magistrate Alicia Chankar dismissed the charge against Bedeau after the police officer who charged him failed to show up in court on any of the days the case was called, with any type of evidence.
After he was freed, Bedeau’s attorneys Shervon Noreiga, Joel Roper and Gerard Boodram filed a civil claim for compensation.
They complained Bedeau was deprived of his liberty, wrongfully detained, not advised or afforded his constitutional rights and had suffered losses because of his wrongful arrest.
In addition to compensatory and aggravated damages for malicious prosecution, unlawful arrest and detention, assault and battery and false imprisonment, Bedeau also asked for exemplary or punitive damages, which are awarded by a court against a defendant as a public example of conduct not to engage in.
After a virtual hearing, Justice Ricky Rahim ordered the State to pay Bedeau damages for malicious prosecution, including aggravated and exemplary damages, arising out of the charges laid against him.
In an assessment of damages, Master Shurlanne Pierre, last week, ordered the State to pay Bedeau $118,000 in damages for his unlawful detention, malicious prosecution and special and exemplary damages. These sums will attract interest and the State was also ordered to pay an additional $27,808.81 in costs.