The State has been ordered to pay over $135,000 in compensation to a police officer and her daughter-in-law, who were improperly arrested and detained for illegal drugs belonging to another relative.
Camlah Naraceram and her daughter-in-law Jerissa sued the State for false imprisonment in 2018 and obtained a default judgment after the Office of the Attorney General failed to file a defence to the claim.
The compensation owed to the relatives was only recently assessed by High Court Master Sherlanne Pierre.
According to the evidence in the lawsuit, police searched the family’s home at Canque Village, Biche, on February 15, 2017, for arms and ammunition.
During the search, police found a quantity of marijuana hidden in a wardrobe.
Although Naraceram’s son and Jerissa’s brother-in-law Adesh admitted that the drugs were his and signed a confession statement, his relatives were still arrested and detained for several days before being released.
In her affidavit filed in the case, Naraceram sought to outline the traumatic effect her arrest had on her.
“Throughout my entire life I never felt as humiliated as I felt having to go through an experience such as this having to be locked up by my own peers. I was treated like a criminal by my own colleagues,” Naraceram said, as she claimed she has been repeatedly heckled by co-workers since the incident.
“I have also suffered irreparable damage to my reputation and standing in the eyes of persons within my community, where I was previously known as an upstanding citizen,” she added.
In her evidence, Jerissa noted that while being detained for two days, she was unable to breastfeed and care for her baby.
“This caused me great mental and emotional anguish as well as severe pain as my breasts became severely engorged,” she said.
As part of her decision in the case, Pierre ordered the State to also pay the relatives’ legal costs for bringing the lawsuit.
The Naracerams were represented by Alvin Pariagsingh and Robert Abdool-Mitchell while Savitri Maharaj represented the AG’s Office.