“It is not just a victory for me. It’s a victory for all who have been brutalised by the police and got no justice….”.
Those words were uttered by Green Street resident, Sheldon Monah who won his appeal in an assault and battery case brought against Sergeant of Police, Kenny Smart following an incident in February 2013.
The Justices of the Court of Appeal ruled in Monah’s favour in a ruling handed down last Friday at a sitting in St. George’s.
The case for the appellant was argued before the Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira and Justices Gertel Thom and Mario Michel by seasoned criminal defense attorney, Anselm Clouden.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY newspaper on Monday, Monah said he is happy with the result as people have been brutalised in the past by the police and nothing came out of it.
“…I went through all the stages even though it (the High Court ruling) was in favour of the state (but) I continued fighting, bringing about victory for all”, he added.
Monah said now that he has won the appeal, he is considering taking further civil action against the State for the damages caused to him as a result of the incident.
Solicitor General, Dwight Horsford, who appeared in the appeal for the State, was unable to convince the Judges to uphold the 2015 ruling of Justice Jennifer Remy, who dismissed the case on the grounds that Monah and his attorney “failed to satisfy the Court on a balance of probabilities, that he was assaulted by Sgt. Smart while in custody at the South St. George Police Station.”
In commenting on the Court of Appeal ruling, Clouden alluded to the findings of the Court of Appeal Justices that “there were certain technical errors made (during the trial) by the omission of certain evidence by the trial judge that constituted an unfairness in the proceedings in so far as Sheldon Monah was concerned and they allowed his appeal”.
“He (Monah) literally won his appeal and was awarded cost and they have ordered that the matter be sent for a retrial before another judge”, Clouden said.
In September 2015, Justice Remy dismissed Monah’s claims for damages in the case involving Sgt. Smart and the other co-defendants, the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General.
The State was represented by attorney-at-law, Francine Foster.
Monah had applied to the court for compensation for assault and battery damages arising out of an incident that occurred on December 9, 2012, at the South St. George Police Station.
He was arrested by Sgt. Smart at a public meeting of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for allegedly heckling a political speaker, who was addressing the gathering assembled at the Morne Rouge playing field in Grand Anse.
Monah was slapped with a charge of Assault on a Police Officer, after he allegedly spat in Sgt. Smart’s face while he was speaking to him about his behaviour.
The accused denied the accusation and charged the officer with assaulting and battering him while in his custody at the South St. George police station.
He alleged that while in custody, Sgt. Smart physically assaulted him while another police officer, whom he could not identify “stood by and watched” without doing anything to stop it.
Monah also alleged that Sgt. Smart punched him in the face damaging his right eye, as well as wrapped an unidentified object around his neck, and threatened to “blow his head off with his gun” if he made any noise.
In his defence, Sgt. Smart said that he only transported Monah to the police station, where he handed him over to the diarist and returned to resume duty at the Morne Rouge playing field.
He said that he had remained at the police station for approximately 2 to 4 minutes after arresting Monah and it was a Police Constable who dealt with the arrested man and did not assault him as being alleged.
Monah was seeking damages in the sum of $2, 500, in addition to general damages and costs among other relief.
The female High Court Judge ruled in a counterclaim that based on the evidence the defendants (Smart, Commissioner of Police and the Attorney-General) had also failed to prove on a balance of probabilities that Monah assaulted the Police Sgt as alleged and the matter was dismissed.