Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 01ST JUNE, 2015
Cheryl Miller, the Ministry of Gender,
Youth and Child Affairs employee who
shot into the public limelight after she was
dragged from her office and forcibly com-
mitted to the St Ann s Psychiatric Hospital
almost three years ago, has been awarded
almost $850,000 in compensation.
Miller was handed the substantial payout
yesterday at the conclusion of her lawsuit
against her former employer and the man-
agement of the hospital for false imprison-
In her lawsuit against the North West
Regional Health Authority, the hospital s
operator, Miller claimed that staff at the
hospital did not have the authority under
the Mental Health Act to detain her against
her will at the ministry s office at the Inter-
national Waterfront Centre in Port-of-Spain
on March 21, 2012, before taking her off to
the St Ann s hospital.
Presiding Judge Judith Jones agreed as
she ordered the authority to pay Miller
$450,000 in damages for the embarrassment
she suffered from the incident.
"Her mental suffering, affront to her dig-
nity and damage to her reputation has con-
tinued long after the incarceration ended.
The incarceration had and continues to have
a traumatic effect on her. Some three years
after the event she has clearly not recovered
from its effects," Jones said as she noted
that Miller s case became a public spectacle
and was even the basis of several humorous
Miller was also awarded $75,000 in exem-
plary damages for being treated with long
acting psychotic drugs while at the hospital.
The remainder of her compensation package
represents the money which her family spent
on legal fees for a habeas corpus application
which saw her being released from the hos-
pital after 17 days.
In a brief interview at her St Francios
Valley Road, Belmont home following the
ruling, Miller said she was thankful for the
legal victory but said she felt she should
have gotten much more.
"The things I was made to suffer at the
hospital, that amount of money is not
enough. I could have died because those
were two deadly injections they gave to me.
They could have killed me with those injec-
tions," she said.
Miller said she did not wish to comment
on the judge s ruling on St Rose-Greaves
and the senior public servants until she had
reviewed the judgment with her lawyers.
Attempts to contact St Rose-Greaves last
evening were unsuccessful as calls to her
cell phone went unanswered and she did
not return calls.
Miller feels $.8m award not enough
have killed me'
In her 34-page judgment, Jones rejected
claims by the hospital's staff that their
actions were permitted under section 15 of
the legislation, which allows for the commital
of a citizen in circumstances where they are
found "wandering at large" on a roadway or
other public space. The judge noted that their
claims were not applicable as Miller's cubicle
at the ministry could not be classified as a
While Miller wanted then Gender Minister
Verna St Rose-Greaves, the ministry's
permanent secretary Sandra Jones and her
deputy Jasmine Pascall to also be held
accountable, as they were the ones who
contacted the mental health officials to
initiate the act against her, Jones disagreed.
Stating that St Rose-Greaves and the two
public servants had a duty to address
concerns over Miller's conduct towards her
co-workers, Jones said: "That they may have
dealt with the situation differently and
avoided these drastic consequences
suggests to me poor judgment on their part.
"From her evidence, Miller's complaint
seems more to be that these Defendants
stood by and permitted strangers from the
Health Authority to come into the Ministry
and remove her than there was some
direction, procuring, direct request or direct
encouragement to the employees of the
However, Jones criticised them for their
inaction in going to Miller's assistance when
the health officials arrived, which she
described as "regrettable and irresponsible."
According to the evidence in the case, the
complaints against Miller included her
allegedly untidy appearance, alleged
arguments with co-workers and other anti-
social behaviour. Since her release, Miller has
been transfered to the Ministry of Sports.
Miller's legal team included Stanley
Marcus, SC, and Fitzgerald Hinds. Devesh
Maharaj and Kandice Bharath appeared for
the Health Authority while Ravi Rajcoomar
represented Jones and Pascall.
MINISTRY OFFICIALS ESCAPE
accompanied by PSA
president Watson Duke
leaves the St Ann's
Hospital in April, 2012,
after a judge ordered
her release. The
NWRHA was yesterday
ordered to pay Miller a
total of $835,000 for
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