Baton rape case: AG, police officer awarded $1M after Colwyn Harding failed to comply with court order
Attorney General Anil Nandlall S.C. and police officer Devin Singh were awarded $1 million in costs after the two claims filed by Colwyn Harding, who accused Singh of raping him with a baton in 2013, stood dismissed on Tuesday. These costs were awarded by Justice Navindra Singh.
According to a statement from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the charges stood dismissed because Harding failed to comply with a court order issued in February and did not present himself for the start of the trial on Tuesday.
In February, Justice Singh dismissed the case or want of prosecution and ordered Harding to pay the State costs awarded to the tune of $100,000. Subsequently, however, the Justice granted an Order recalling that previous order on the condition that Harding pays the AG and Constable Singh, the two respondents, $150,000 costs each on or before July 16, 2021.
But Harding had not yet made the payments when the case came up for hearing on Tuesday. As such, Justice Singh indicated that the claims stood dismissed as of the date of non-compliance.
Nigel Hughes, attorney for Harding, had explained that there had been difficulties contacting him.
After the hearing on Tuesday morning, the Attorney General’s Chambers was informed by the Administration Department of the Guyana Prison Service that Harding was released on $70,000 bail on April 21, 2021.
In his first claim, Harding alleged that he was assaulted and battered by the police constable and sustained injuries.
Specifically, he contended that he was viciously assaulted by several members of the Guyana Police Force on November 15, 2013, by ranks who entered his house. He also claimed that Police Constable Singh 19175 inserted a foreign object into his anus triggering a need for corrective surgery and that the said rank repeatedly assaulted him at the Timehri Police Outpost.
The State had denied these claims, asserting that the medical evidence did not support Harding’s contention of a foreign object being inserted into his anatomy and that any surgical procedures undertaken were as a result of a medical condition which he had developed.
In this action, Harding had asked the court to grant him damages in excess of $100,000 and other exemplary damages. In the second claim, he alleged that his fundamental rights were breached as a result of the actions of the police ranks and asked the court to grant him damages in excess of $80 million.
He asked for several other costs to be awarded including that the defendants in each action pay the costs of his legal fees for bringing the actions.