BERBICE Chutney Soca artiste, Hemwattie Singh, called ‘Mona’, has moved to the High Court and filed legal action against the Attorney General, Commissioner of Police and two junior police officers, and is claiming $1.2 Million for “cruel, inhuman treatment and wrongful deprivation of liberty.”
The application was filed by attorney-at-law Saphier Husain in favour of his client. The Attorney General and Minster of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, Commissioner of Police Leslie James, Woman Special Constable Nieshet Parks and Policeman Onkar Sooknanan are listed as defendants in the matter.
The application will be heard today (Tuesday, January 21, 2020) by Justice Franklin Holder, at the Demerara High Court.
Singh is claiming that she was violated and subjected to cruel, inhumane treatment and wrongful deprivation of her liberty on December 3, 2019, at the Rose Hall Police Station.
The claimant is also seeking damages, in excess of $100,000, for the wrongful deprivation of her liberty, on the day in question, by the two police officers, Parks and Sooknanan, who left her to suffer pecuniary losses.
She is also further seeking another $100,000, for the inhumane and degrading treatment meted out to her by police officers Parks and Sooknanan which caused her to endure inhumane and degrading treatment, assault, torture and suffer pecuniary losses.
The claimant is also seeking $1M in damages for unlawful and malicious publication, by police officers Parks and Sooknanan, on the internet, via YouTube and Facebook, of her pictures and/or images and videos of a prejudicial nature, without her permission, thus violating her human rights to privacy, damaging her reputation and character and lowering her esteem in the eyes of the public.
In the application, Singh is claiming that, due to the videos/ pictures, she cannot be guaranteed a fair trial by impartial tribunal and said proceedings should be declared void.
She is also contending that the Minister of Social Protection, on December, 15, 2019, violated her rights to a fair trial of the charges laid in the Magistrates Court for contravention of the principles of separation of power.
Finally, Singh is asking the court to grant a conservatory order to stay the proceedings in the Whim and Albion Magistrate’s Court, where criminal charges are on-going against her.
In her statement, Singh said that, on the December 3, 2019, she was in motor car PTT 6628, with her sister Yashmanie Ramsew, called ‘Tina’, proceeding along the Rose Hall Public Road, Corentyne, when an accident occurred involving minor damages to a third party’s vehicle.
Singh said that she came out of her motor car and settled the matter with the driver of motor car PLL 9377 and agreed that no police action would be necessary as the matter may be later reported to the Police Station.
However, Police officer Sooknanan and another male Police officer, later that day, stopped her mother’s car and, in a disorderly and violent manner, with firearm in their hands, threatened to shoot them. The police officers then placed the claimant and her sister in a vehicle and took them to the Rose Hall Police Station.
Singh is claiming that Officers Parks and Sooknanan, along with two other ranks, while on their way to the Rose Hall Police Outpost, demanded $50,000 from her and Ramsew, but they refused to pay the money.
While at the station, Singh said that Parks assaulted them, which caused them to receive injuries about their abdomen and legs.
“The Claimant and her sister screamed and shouted and were forced to speak in harsh and loud tones to protect their civil liberty but the defendants (Parks and Sooknanan) and other members of the force continued their threats depriving them of their liberty.
On December 8, 2019, at the Berbice Magisterial District Magistrate’s Court, Singh was charged with assault of a Peace Officer and disorderly behavior at the Rose Hall Town Police Outpost, Corentyne Berbice on the 3rd December, 2019. She was released on $100,000 bail.
Her sister was slapped with six charges: assaulting a Peace Officer; resisting a Peace Officer; disorderly behavior; dangerous driving; failure to stop at an accident, and failure to report an accident.