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Derek Achong

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has moved to reindict 10 police officers accused of dousing a Sangre Grande man with boiling water, before applying pepper sauce to his burn wounds during an interrogation in 2015.

Guardian Media understands that the DPP’s Office recently obtained a judge’s warrant to recharge the group of officers, who were freed of charges of misbehaviour in public office and perverting the course of justice at the end of their preliminary inquiry in 2019.

The incident is alleged to have occurred at the Sangre Grande Police Station in February 2015, when the victim, Ralph Andre Lewis, surrendered to police after hearing that officers wanted to question him over several housebreakings in the district.

He was allegedly beaten with a PVC pipe and boiling water was poured over his groin area after he repeatedly refused to confess. Pepper sauce was then allegedly applied to the burns he suffered on his penis and surrounding areas.

Lewis was taken for medical treatment before being released without being charged.

The ten officers and another colleague were initially charged over the incident.

At the end of their preliminary inquiry in December 2019, Magistrate Brambhanan Dubay freed the officers, as he ruled that the evidence presented against them was manifestly unreliable.

However, Magistrate Dubay upheld the case against the other officer, who he committed to stand trial for the charges.

In 2017, Lewis, through his attorneys Lemuel Murphy and Alexia Romero, sued the State for assault and battery over the incident.

His attorneys obtained a default judgement after the Office of the Attorney General failed to meet the deadline for filing a defence to the civil lawsuit.

Although the AG’s Office appealed and the default judgement was set aside, it eventually conceded liability.

In June last year, High Court Master Sherlanne Pierre assessed the compensation Lewis should be paid and ordered a little over $300,000 in damages.