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Maliciously prosecuted twice: Taxpayers must fork out $695,000

For the second time in two years, a Claxton Bay man has been awarded thousands of dollars in compensation after he filed lawsuits against the State for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.

It was only in 2017, that a High Court judge ordered the State to pay Mark Hagley the sum of $425,000 after he was successful in his claim against the Office of the Attorney General.

On Thursday evening, another judge awarded Hagley an additional $270,000 in another claim he had filed.

The latest order was made by Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell at the San Fernando Supreme Court.

In delivering her ruling, Justice Donaldson-Honeywell said the court had found that police attempted to fabricate documents to justify Hagley’s arrest and prosecution.

On March 30, 2013, Hagley, who was represented by attorneys Abdel and Shabana Mohammed, was at the home of a friend at Cedar Hill Road, Claxton Bay, when police officers entered the premises in search of drugs.

According to his claim, the officers began kicking and punching him as well as stomping on his neck.

He was eventually arrested and charged for possession of marijuana.

However, Hagley contended that he was simply visiting his friend, and at no time was he in possession of any drugs.

Hagley appeared in court more than a dozen times be­fore the charge was even­tu­al­ly dis­missed by a mag­is­trate.

The officer who laid the charge, PC Don­ald Snag­gs, had failed to at­tend hear­ings and ten­der ev­i­dence in the case.

In Au­gust last year, Snag­gs was charged along­side PC Pe­ter Far­num for the murder of Adele Gilbert on Oc­to­ber 20, 2016 in San Fernando.

Gilbert was shot dead during a confrontation with a group of plainclothes police officers. In her ruling, Justice Donaldson-Honeywell said she found the police’s version of the events as advanced in the State’s defence as being implausible.

The judge said she found it “incredible” that the officers could not provide documents to support their allegations and that the documents that they actually did produce, contradicted their case.

The judge al­so took is­sue with the fact that sta­tion di­aries de­tail­ing Ha­gley’s ar­rest were un­signed and not cer­ti­fied as well as the State’s fail­ure to dis­close oth­er records of the raid.

She also found there was nothing to show what happened to the drugs after Hagley’s arrest, nor evidence to show he was an occupier of the house.

She added that the mere presence at a location was insufficient to charge someone for possession of drugs found on the premises.

According to court documents, Hagley was made to spend 113 days in prison before he could access bail.

He claimed he suffered distress, humiliation and embarrassment and was continuously fearful of being detained and charged by police for offences he did not commit.

In 2017, Hagley was ordered by another judge to receive the $425,000 after he was charged with rape, kidnapping larceny of a car, cellphones, jewelry and serious indecency.

Those offences were alleged to have taken place in 2005. In 2011, the charges were all dismissed when the officer who laid the charges continuously failed to attend court.


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