High Court throws out Colwyn Harding’s $400M lawsuits for alleged Police brutality

Two lawsuits filed by Colwyn Harding against the Attorney General and two policemen allegedly police brutality and breach of his fundamental rights were on Monday dismissed for want of prosecution by High Court Judge Navindra Singh at the High Court in Demerara.

Both lawsuits were filed back in 2014.

In the action, Colwyn Harding v. Police Constables T. Thomas and Devin Singh, Harding alleged that he was assaulted and battered by the police ranks and sustained injuries. Specifically, he contended that he was viciously assaulted by several members of the Guyana Police Force on November 15, 2013 who entered his home.

He claimed that Constable Singh inserted a foreign object into his anus triggering a need for corrective surgery, and that the said rank repeatedly assaulted him in the Timehri Police Outpost between November 15 and 18 2013. The State had denied these claims. Specifically, the State asserted that the medical evidence did not support Harding’s contention of a foreign object being inserted into his anatomy, and that any surgical procedures undertaken were as a result of a medical condition which he had developed.

In this action, Harding had asked the Court to grant him the following Orders: damages in excess of $100,000 for assault, exemplary damages and Court costs.

In the other Statement of Claim, Colwyn Harding v. Attorney General, Harding alleged that his fundamental rights were breached as a result of the actions of the Police ranks. He, therefore, asked the Court to grant him the following orders: damages in excess of $80 million for breach of his fundamental right to protection from torture and or inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed by Article 141 of the Constitution of Guyana and damages in excess of $100 million for breach of his protected fundamental right to protection from inhuman treatment.

He also asked the Court to grant him, damages in excess of $100 million for breach of his fundamental right to protection against arbitrary search of his person as guaranteed by Article 143 of the Constitution; damages in excess of $100  million for breach of his right to protection against torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment as provided by Article 154A of the Constitution and the Convention against Torture and Other Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and damages in excess of $100 million breach of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by Article 139 of the Constitution.

In dismissing the lawsuits for want of prosecution, Justice Singh ordered that Harding pay $100,000 in Court Costs to the Attorney General’s Chambers, and another $100,000 in Court Costs to the two policemen.

In March 2016, Constables Devin Singh and Roselle Tilbury-Douglas, who were accused of brutalizing Harding, who alleged that he was sodomised with a baton, were cleared of all charges by a Magistrate. During the trial, Harding was absent on numerous occasions which led to counsel for the police ranks asking for the matter to be dismissed. As a result, the presiding Magistrate instructed the Prosecution to close its case and dismissed the matter.