Mr. Winston Phillips who took the Attorney General to court has won the first legal hurdle in his effort to be compensated for alleged injuries suffered in an altercation with ‘Cpl 45 Adrian Forde’.
The Court heard that Mr. Phillips visited the Central Police Station in Kingstown to inquire about his daughter whom he learnt had been arrested.
The Court record shows:
“he was approaching the CID office when the unknown police officer grabbed the back of his pants and pulled him to the ground. He claimed that when he got up the officer boxed him about his face and ordered him to leave”.
Mr. Phillips claimed he was injured during the encounter.
However, at the time, he was not aware of the police officer’s name and wrote to the Commissioner of Police to ascertain the identity of the police officer to which he did not receive a reply.
Unable to obtain the police officer’s name to submit his legal claim with the court, he used ‘Unknown Officer of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force’ to meet the prescribed timeline within the rules.
However, the Attorney General who also did not receive the name of the police officer from the Commissioner of Police until ‘some time after’ wanted the court to dismiss the claim based in part on:
“The referenced notice did not identify the accused public officer and was not served on the unknown officer of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force’ personally or by leaving it at his residence”.
High Court Judge Esco Henry however found that the Commissioner of Police partially frustrated Mr. Phillips from meeting the stipulations of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) with regards to filing his claim.
She found in fact:
“The parties have essentially accepted that Mr. Phillips requested from the COP the name of the police officer whom he alleged assaulted him. The Hon. Attorney General has acknowledged that the COP responded only in October 2019, some 5 months after the initial request”.
“On the one hand, Mr. Phillips sought to get information which he claimed not to have. On the other hand, the COP by law has responsibility for and superintendence of every police officer employed by the State and who would have been at the Central Police Station on July 5th 2018. Meanwhile, the Hon. Attorney General as the Crown’s chief law officer has a duty to Mr. Phillips and to the Court to disclose relevant materials on an ongoing basis to advance the cause of justice”.
Mr. Ronald Marks holding papers for Mrs. Patricia Marks-Minors represented Mr Phillips in the matter.