Gov’t appeals $6.5M compensation ruling for tortured teen

The government last week appealed the $6.5 million compensation ruling in favour of the teen whose genitals were burnt while in police custody, amidst accusations from defence attorney Khemraj Ramjattan that all the stops are being pulled to avoid paying up.

Ramjattan yesterday confirmed in a brief telephone interview that the appeal was filed about “four or five days ago,” just one day before the six weeks permitted to do so expired.

The tortured boy (second from left) as he was taken to the hospital in 2009 (Stabroek News file photo)
The tortured boy (second from left) as he was taken to the hospital in 2009 (Stabroek News file photo)

He could not recall all the grounds on which the appeal was based but said that they had to do with the judgement being unreasonable.

Ramjattan said that this move by government is “absurd and totally obnoxious,” and stressed that he is prepared to fight for his client who was fifteen years old at the time of the incident.

“They should pay the damages at least. They should pay the $6.5 million,” Ramjattan who is also the presidential candidate for the Alliance for Change (AFC) said, adding that “they are trying to avoid paying anything at all.”

An official from the Attorney General’s (AG) chambers confirmed that the appeal had been filed but noted that comments on the matter could only come from the AG himself who would not be accessible until tomorrow.

In November 2009, policemen, Mohanram Dolai and Narine Lall, appeared in court charged with burning the genitals of the teen with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or cause him grievous bodily harm.

They were also charged with unlawfully and maliciously wounding Nouravie Wilfred.

The duo along with Corporal Foo were also charged with unlawfully and maliciously wound-ing Deonarine  Rafick, with intent to maim, disfigure, disable or cause him grievous bodily harm.

The offences were committed shortly after the teen, Wilfred and Rafick were arrested by police in connection with the brutal murder of Region Three vice-chairman Ramenauth Bisram.

Reports are that the teen was stripped and beaten before his genitals were burnt. The case drew international condemnation.

Magistrate Nyasha Williams-Hatmin was forced to issue arrest warrants for the teen, Wilfred and Rafick after they failed to attend court on several occasions.

She dismissed the case in January, after they again failed to appear. No evidence was ever taken since the witnesses did not turn up.
The dismissal came although the Ministry of Home Affairs had acknowledged that the teenage boy was tortured.

Civil action was subsequently taken against the ranks and the Guyana Police Force and after describing the case as constituting torture, Justice Roxane George on June 17 awarded the teenager $6.5 million in damages. In giving her ruling she explained that there had been a violation of his fundamental human rights.

Until now the three errant ranks remain interdicted from duty. Crime Chief Seelall Persaud when contacted last month had said that it will take some time before they find out what their future with the Force will be since the process is a long one.

He had further explained that the internal inquiry (which would investigate the breaches in the conduct of their duties and impose an appropriate punishment) has to go through a process.

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