State to pay $345,000 in damages …”COPS BEAT, FRAME 2 MEN”

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Two men who were beaten and framed by the police, are smiling all the way to the bank.

The State has to pay more than $345,000 in compensation to the two men who were beaten by the police and framed on firearm, ammunition and marijuana charges.

In awarding the money to friends Richard Caesar, 46, and Osa Chima, 38, Justice Margaret Mohammed found that the police acted with malice in instituting proceedings against the men.

The judge found there was no reasonable and probable cause to charge the men, the execution of the search warrant was improper and the manner the search was conducted gave the officers ample opportunity to plant the firearm, ammunition and marijuana in Caesar’s house.

Days before their arrest, Caesar had reported an officer, who arrested his brother, to the Police Complaints Authority.

He said the same officer subsequently arrested him, kept in the police station for five hours before being released with a threat of prosecution.

According to the court documents, on February 19, 2010, Chima was at Caesar’s Basse Terre, Moruga home assisting him with some renovations. They finished work late so Chima spent the night.

Around 2.30 am, they were awakened by banging sounds on the window. When Caesar opened the door they were met with bright lights and seven men,  five of whom were dressed in police uniform,  claiming they had a warrant to search the premises.

Caesar and Chima were handcuffed and dragged outside. An officer began to read a document to Caesar, purporting to be a search warrant, but they were not shown any search warrant.

Caesar and Chima were then taken back inside the house to Caesar’s bed where one of the officers bent down and pulled out a black cloth containing a gun. The men said they were then taken to the Princes Town Police Station, placed in a room and ordered to sign a document admitting knowledge of the firearm. The men claimed they were beaten with a baton, on two occasions, when they refused to sign the document.

Caesar and Chima said they were not allowed to call an attorney or any family member. They were kept in a small cell, with no toilet or concrete slab or bed from Saturday to Monday.

When they appeared in the Princes Town Magistrates Court the following day they were held on remand for approximately three months until they were released on bail. Their matters were dismissed on October 30, 2012.

The judge said the State was not liable to compensate the claimants’ claims for wrongful arrest and detention and assault and assault and battery because they were filed out of time. The State was ordered to pay interest on the compensation award and legal costs incurred by the claimants.

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JUSTICE MARGARET MOHAMMED

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