A traffic warden arrested by an acting inspector of police he had stopped, has been awarded over $120,000 by the court.
Darson Goolcharan filed the lawsuit for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment after the officer charged him with using obscene language, behaving disorderly and resisting arrest.
The matter was before Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh. It came to an end last Wednesday with the State agreeing to settle the claim.
The traffic warden was represented by attorney Kevin Ratiram.
Court documents stated it was a week and half before May 6 2016, Goolcharan was on duty, directing traffic in Penal. He stopped the car being driven by acting Inspector David Subero. The vehicle however continued to slowly move forward and Goolcharan told the driver about this. Subero told the traffic warden he had to learn how to talk to people and that Goolcharan would be reported to his superiors.
On the morning of May 6, Goolcharan was again on duty when he saw the driver of a car was not wearing his seatbelt and stopped the vehicle. While walking toward the car, the driver alighted and began walking toward the traffic warden. Goolcharan noticed it was the same person with whom he had the encounter days earlier. He told Subero about not wearing his seatbelt and asked for his driver’s permit and certificate of insurance. The police officer gesticulated and spoke loudly as he told Goolcharan he will not be getting either.
Goolcharan said to the officer that should they not be produced, he will prepare a summons for him to attend court. The warden made a note of the vehicle’s registration number. After he walked past the officer, Goolcharan turned around to see him close to him. The officer took out his police identification card from his wallet and told Goolcharan he was acting inspector Subero and that he was under arrest.
The traffic warden was grabbed and pushed across the street to the Penal police station. He was told that he was a disgrace to the uniform and to take it off. Goolcharan removed his reflective vest. He was later told to change into civilian and one of his colleagues brought him clothing for this was done.
Subero thereafter charged Goolcharan with using obscene language, engaging in disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest. He said he was not guilty during his court appearance that day and was granted bail.
Subero had testified during the trial at the magistrates’ court that Goolcharan cursed, threw his hands in the air, jumped and behaved in an erratic and disorderly manner. He also claimed that when he held onto Goolcharan’s hand, he aggressively tugged it away.
In November 2017, the magistrate found Goolcharan not guilty of the offences.
The traffic warden sued the State for damages including for trauma and embarrassment. He also sued for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. He claimed the officer arrested him to be prevented from being charged for not wearing his seatbelt.
Last week Boodoosingh ordered by consent that Goolcharan be paid $122,032.32 inclusive of damages, interest and costs.
The State was represented in the matter by Radha Sookdeo and Nicole Yee Fung.