The Court of Appeal has increased the compensation to be paid to a 41-year-old man from Morvant, who was kidnapped, beaten, and threatened by a group of Coast Guard personnel in 2013.
In 2016, High Court Master Marissa Robertson awarded Kevin Bartholomew a little over $90,000 in damages after his attorneys successfully obtained a default judgment based on the State’s failure to enter a defence in the case.
Bartholomew appealed as his attorneys contended that the compensation was inordinately low in the circumstances of the case.
Delivering an oral judgment in the appeal, during a virtual hearing on Wednesday, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judges Nolan Bereaux and Mira Dean-Armorer ruled that Robertson did not properly consider the threats to Bartholomew’s life.
The appeal panel also ruled that Robertson did not consider the seriousness of the offences committed by the Coast Guard personnel and the need to award high compensation as a deterrent against similar conduct in the future.
They increased the $45,000 in general damages Bartholomew received to $100,000 and the exemplary damages from $45,000 to $60,000.
The State was also ordered to pay the legal fees Bartholomew incurred in bringing the appeal.
According to the evidence in the case, Bartholomew was abducted while standing outside his mother’s home at Second Caledonia, in Morvant, on November 14, last year.
He claimed that a blue pick-up truck, bearing a Coast Guard registration number, pulled alongside him and four men came out of the vehicle.
Bartholomew said at first he did not recognise any of the men, who were all armed and wearing Coast Guard uniforms, but soon realised he knew one from his childhood.
The men bundled him into the van and drove to a desolate area off the Lady Young Road, in Morvant.
“They drag me out of the van and started beating me again. One of the men hold me in a headlock and the other held my two hands behind my back,” Bartholomew said, in an interview with Guardian Media when he initially filed the lawsuit.
He claimed that while he was being restrained, the man he recognised drew a rifle and stick the barrel in his mouth.
“Whilst they had the gun in my mouth they said if I go back to the police station they would come down, kick down my door and kill,” Bartholomew said.
He said he was able to break free from his attackers after they were startled by the headlights of an oncoming car.
Residents assisted Bartholomew and took him to the Morvant Police Station where he reported the incident.
Bartholomew was represented by Gerald Ramdeen, Dayadai Harripaul and Umesh Maharaj while Linda Khan and Kendra Mark represented the State.