St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN);The Attorney General has confirmed that over the past few years the government has been hit with millions of dollars in lawsuits for wrongful arrest and detention by the police.
He said Wednesday (June 28) that the claims total approximately ten million dollars in damages.
“Our Attorney General’s Chambers, since 2015, we have inherited a situation where we have some 15 claims against the state for wrongful arrest and unlawful detention. Some people more than three years in jail, and then when they reach court the case is withdrawn.
“I have claims before us of up to ten million dollars going back years when the strategy then was to lock up people without bail – bail never used to be granted- they locking them up because they solving crime. Up to three years, people just lock up there and then when time comes [court] okay you could go, and now we’re faced with claims for one million, two million dollars from these people.”
In 2015 one claimant took the State to court for wrongful arrest and imprisonment and was awarded over $160,000.
While some cases have been settled for less than $50,000, WINN FM was reliably informed that a young man who spent some 8 months on remand for murder, only to be released on lack of evidence, was reportedly awarded around $170,000 in damages.
One suit settled just last week resulted in the government having to pay the claimant over $60,000.
Under the previous administration quite a few suits were settled, however Byron had indicated to WINN Fm on a previous occasion that the government would be challenging the claims in court.
The AG said the majority of suits stemmed from arrests made during the tenure of former Police Commissioner CG Walwyn.
WINN FM spoke with a number of defense attorneys who confirmed that they’ve had as many as ten clients each suing the government on the same bases and several of those cases stemmed from arrests made under the former Commissioner. Most of those cases have yet to be resolved.