Woman awarded $2.2M by court over unlawful Police arrest, detention
Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George has ordered the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to pay $2.2 million in damage to a Berbice woman for unlawful arrest and detention in relation to the murder of the Henry boys’ back in November 2020.
Rehanna Reginald, a resident of East Canje, Berbice, through her attorney Dexter Todd, had argued that she was unlawfully arrested by members of the Guyana Police Force Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on November 7, 2020, and kept in custody until November 11, 2020.
During this period, she alleged that she was subject to cruel and inhumane treatment. She was also deprived of her right to speak with her family or attorneys.
Reginald was not charged for any offence. She, therefore, filed action through Todd and Dexter Smartt from Dexter Todd and Associates Law Firm, seeking compensation for breaches of her fundamental rights, including cruel and inhumane treatment, false imprisonment and wrongful deprivation of liberty on 7th to 11th November 2020.
In a statement, Dexter Todd and Associates Law Firm said the Chief Justice ruled in favour of Reginald.
As such, the matter proceeded for a decision on compensation. According to the statement, throughout the trial, the court heard that Reginald was not told the reason for her arrest and was deprived of her right to an attorney.
It further noted that Reginald was forced to stay in a cell with human faeces and urine on the floor since the washroom was not operational.
“She (Reginald) explained how she was forced to sleep on the concrete floor filled with filth, insects, human faeces and urine accompanied by a strong stench while on her menstrual cycle. As a consequence of the Police’s unlawful actions, Ms. Reginald suffered humiliation, distress, embarrassment and emotionally and mentally traumatized,” the statement contended.
According to the statement, the Chief Justice, in her ruling, awarded the sum of $1.6M for damage for the breaches of Reginald fundamental rights guaranteed under articles 139(1) and 141 of the Constitution.
Another $50,000 was also awarded for breach of her rights under Article 149 of the Constitution which guarantees protection from discrimination.
A further $350,000 vindicatory damages were awarded since the Police had no reason for arresting Reginald. In addition, the court also imposed costs in the sum of $250,000 to Reginald.