Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 3rd 2017 Contents A16 news
guardian.co.tt Friday, February 3, 2017
In awarding $95,000 in damages to a grand-
mother wrongfully charged and kept in filthy
prison cells for two days for unlawful possession
of paint brushes, a judge called for the imple-
mentation of measures to put a stop to police
abusing their powers.
Justice Frank Seepersad said the first step of tackling
the spiralling crime situation is restoring the trust
and confidence in the Police Service which is eroded
when instances like this in which 66-year-old jani-
tor, Grace Achong, was maliciously prosecuted occurs.
Delivering his oral judgment in the San Fernan-
do Civil Court on Wednesday, Seepersad found the
dominant reason why Achong was charged by Cpl
Anestasia Samuel was as a form of punishment be-
cause the officer felt Achong did not want to disclose
the whereabouts of her three sons.
The incident took place at Achong's home at
Victoria Village, San Fernando, during the State of
Emergency in 2011.
Ruling that there was no reasonable or probable
cause to charge Achong, the judge said: "The court is
firmly of the view that the dominant purpose was to
punish the claimant for her unwillingness to provide
the police with the information they were requesting
early that morning. Malice has been established."
Achong was awarded $80,000 general damages,
inclusive of the aggravation she suffered.
The judge also ordered exemplary damages
of $10,000, saying the purpose of her prosecution
was accentuated by ill-will, malice and spite.
The State, represented by attorney Christie
Modeste, was also ordered to pay Achong $5,000
for her legal costs in the magistrates court as well as
further costs and interest.
Saying that the focal point of concern ought to
be abating the spiralling and out of control crime
rate, the judge said efficient and early detection of
crime and the receipt of information from citizens
A symbiotic relationship between law abiding cit-
izens and the police is necessary, he said, adding that
this could only happen if there is trust and confidence
in the police.
"While the court recognises that an onerous re-
sponsibility is place on the police to protect and serve
it does not give them the right to arbitrarily use their
power of arrest to achieve their personal objectives
when they find persons are being uncooperative and
Saying that their powers must never be used to
violate the rights of citizens, the judge called on the
Police Service to review its systems, processes and
Achong was at her Victoria Village, Corinth Road,
San Fernando home on August 27, around 11 pm with
her daughter Mahilia and her three children, ages six,
seven and two, when the police arrived and searched
Achong said the officers questioned her for her
three sons, but she told them they had moved out
and she did not know their whereabouts.
During the search, she said, she said an officer
picked up a bag with 13 small paintbrushes under a
coffee table and threw it on the ground. She said a
female officer saw her pick up the bag and asked her
where she got the brushes.
Achong explained that she bought the brushes on
Mucurapo Street, but the officer accused her of steal-
ing the paint brushes and arrested her.
She was kept in a filthy cell with no toilet facili-
ties in both the Ste Madeleine and San Fernando Po-
lice Stations over the weekend. She also complained
the police gave her one meal which she did not eat
and water. When she appeared in court on Monday,
August 29, the matter went to trial and the case was
In delivering judgment, Seepersad found there were
discrepancies in Samuel's evidence and her evidence
Grandmother Grace Achng 66, leaves
the San Fernando High court on
Wednesday after she won her
malicious prosecution lawsuit against
the state and was awarded $95000 in
damages PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
Grandmother awarded damages
for malicious prosecution
that Achong picked up a bag, in the po-
lice presence, from on the bed and at-
tempted to hide it in a pile of clothes on
the ground was inherently implausible.
Achong was represented by attorney
Taureen Dassyne, instructed by Lester
Speaking with the media afterwards,
Achong, a grandmother of 14, said the
incident was very traumatic and was
happy with the outcome.
Launching of Chaguanas
Clean Up Campaign
Saturday 4th february 2017
Near Price Plaza,
Narsaloo Marge Road, Chaguanas
National Clean up
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