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Derek Achong

A former driver at a food distribution company in central Trinidad has sued his former employer as he alleges that two of its managers arranged for him to be beaten in a locked room by a third party after they accused him of stealing.

Last week, lawyers representing the 46-year-old man filed his assault and battery and false imprisonment lawsuit against the company, which they claim is vicariously liable for the incident allegedly orchestrated and perpetrated by its senior managers.

Though found in the court filings obtained by Guardian Media, the names of the man, the company and the two managers were withheld by this newspaper due to the nature of the allegations and the fact that they are yet to be proven at trial.

According to the man’s statement of case, the incident occurred on March 30, 2019, shortly after he returned to the company’s compound after hauling a load of aggregate.

The man claimed that he handed receipts for the aggregate to his line manager and requested a private conversation with him (the manager) as he had heard from a colleague that one of the company’s customers had reported that he attempted to sell him several cases of goat, which he had not ordered.

He claimed that the manager did not immediately address him as he made a telephone call and waited outside until a man arrived in a car.

The manager then allegedly told the man to go and wait in the lunchroom. Several minutes later, the manager, the company’s managing director and the man who arrived in the car entered the room.

Both managers allegedly accused the man of stealing the frozen goat. He repeatedly denied the allegations and requested evidence of the crime.

After playing a voice note sent by the customer, one of the managers told the third party “organise, you know what you have to do”.

The third party removed his belt which had a large metal buckle and proceeded to beat the man on his head, neck and shoulders as one of the managers held his hands.

“After about 50 lashes, the claimant stopped checking as the pain was unbearable and his back became numb with the licks,” his lawyer said.

The beating lasted between 10 to 15 minutes and only stopped after the senior manager said he “had enough”. He was then allowed to leave.

The man claimed that he had to seek medical treatment for the injuries and remained unemployed for two months before he was able to find another job.

Through the lawsuit, the man is seeking compensation for the beating and for the brief period he was held against his will. He is also seeking compensation for his glasses which broke during the alleged assault and for his loss of earnings after the incident.

The man is being represented by Darryl Heeralal and Nerisa Bala. The case has been assigned to High Court Judge Frank Seepersad.