A man from Point Fortin, who was beaten by a group of police officers after having an argument with the sister of one of the officers in a party, is set to receive $135,000 in compensation.
While High Court Judge Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell upheld Kriston Aguillera’s assault and battery claim against the State at the end of his virtual trial in October, she only assessed the compensation owed to him late last month.
In her decision, Donaldson-Honeywell noted that the compensation was appropriate in the case to help deter such “egregious and heavy-handed” conduct by officers of the State.
Donaldson-Honeywell said: “The conduct of the police officers in launching a retaliatory physical attack on a civilian is an abuse of their powers.”
“Such outrageous conduct by the police is deserving of a further punitive award,” she added.
According to the evidence in the case, the incident occurred in August 2017 as Aguillera attended the “Bikini Bottoms” event at Clifton Hill.
Aguillera reportedly got into an argument with the female officer’s sister, which ended with them tossing the contents of their cups at each other.
Later that night, the 26-year-old was confronted by the officer who was on duty at the party.
The officer dragged him to an unsanitary area near the toilets, where she and a group of colleagues started to beat him.
One of the officers’ baton allegedly broke during the incident.
Aguillera was then dumped outside the party and was taken to hospital by his friends and relatives, who left the event after he went missing.
In her decision, Donaldson-Honeywell suggested that the explanation given by the officers, that Aguillera attacked their colleague’s sister with a glass bottle, was somewhat implausible as the State did not contradict his evidence of the event being a cooler party with no glass bottles allowed.
“So, the whole issue of the glass bottle used by the claimant as a weapon is somewhat in defiance of logic,” Donaldson-Honeywell said.
Aguillera was represented by Kyle Fortune and Janet Peters while Stefan Jaikaran and Ryanka Ragbir appeared for the State.
— Derek Achong