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    January 21

  • 04:52 AM

$50 000 error

Antoinette Connell,

Added 24 September 2010

A man, who was wrongly dragged away from his home and imprisoned by court marshals, has been awarded nearly $50 000 in damages. In a case of mistaken identity five years ago, Anthony Ricardo Ward, a chef, of Brighton, Black Rock, St Michael, ended up in custody for eight hours and was only released after his sister paid an $800 fine owed by another man with a similar name. Recently Acting Justice Olson Alleyne awarded Ward $25 000 for assault, battery and false imprisonment; $15 000 for exemplary damages and $6 000 for pain and suffering and loss of amenities.            Ward, through attorneys Alair Shepherd, QC, and Philip McWatt, sued the Government, and the parties reached an agreement in November 2007. A Barbadian chef, Ward lives in the United States, but was here at his house in Brighton, St Michael, on July 1, 2005, when court marshals were hunting a man with virtually the same name. Court documents revealed that about 6 a.m., a number of them “besieged” the house, broke down the door and handcuffed him. Ward tried to explain there was another Anthony Ward up the hill. “I was dragged continuously and I got a couple of punches in the process. They said to me that I gave them a lot of trouble to find me . . . . One of the marshals, who had injured his foot earlier while dragging down my steel door, began to charge at me and it took eight other marshals to restrain him . . . ,” said Ward. Other detainees in the van used cellphones, but when he asked to, a female marshal threatened to take him to a cartroad and beat him. At the prison he was put in a cell with nine others who “were looking at me up and down because I had walked in there in boxer shorts and T-shirt. I said to them, I am here but I am innocent’, and they started to laugh and one guy said ‘Yes, we too’.” Ward said he asked to use the bathroom but “when I saw the bucket I told him I don’t want to use the bathroom any more”.  At the prison he again protested to warders and eventually got a call to his sister who said they had the wrong man but paid the fine to get him out. After the incident Ward had a small scar in the area of each wrist and one on the lower back, abrasions to the neck and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress order and his sleep was interrupted by nightmares. “I do not think that arriving at the level of compensation appropriate to a particular case can simply be a matter of division and multiplication based on an amount awarded in a previous case.  To persons who have never been in breach of the law, merely to be placed in custody or incarcerated would cause severe distress,” the court stated. Among the aggravated factors the court found were that no apology had been tendered; money was paid for the true target of the arrest; that the defendant filed a defence in which the false imprisonment was not admitted; and that the proceedings developed to the stage where the matter had been set down for trial. The court ruled that the amount would accumulate interest at the rate of six per cent per annum from the date of judgment until payment.

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