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Alleged Rape Victim Sues Top Government Officials

EXCLUSIVE

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

A JAMAICAN woman alleged to have been raped by an immigration officer has filed a civil suit against the government seeking damages for battery, assault, false imprisonment and the breach of her constitutional rights.

In a writ filed in the Supreme Court yesterday, the Attorney General, Minister and Director of Immigration and Commissioner of Police were accused of being liable for the alleged unlawful conduct committed by police and immigration officers in the incident.

In her claim, the woman describes a crowded and filthy detention centre with menstruating females left to bleed out on the floors and with no sanitary napkins or washing facilities.

Immigration officer Norman Bastian, who is facing rape charges, was named as the fifth defendant. Bastian, 53, last week stood before Magistrate Andrew Forbes facing the charge nearly two months after an investigation was launched into the alleged sexual assault.

The investigation followed a report in The Jamaica Gleaner.

According to the writ, the woman was employed as a bartender in Montel Heights, when she was arrested during a police raid.

The raid was conducted around 1am on Saturday, December 13, and allegedly involved at least 30 police officers.

“The Police turned off the lights inside the bar and with an aggressive tone demanded all Bahamians to go on one side of the bar and all Jamaicans to go to the other side of the bar,” the writ read.

“Of the people who were inside the bar at the time, those who were both female and Jamaican were instructed by the Police to board a bus which was parked outside.”

The writ continued: “(she) is a Jamaican citizen. Her husband is a Bahamian citizen. At all material times (she) was in possession of a spousal permit permitting her to remain in The Bahamas. The original of this spousal permit had been lost by (her) prior to 12 December 2014. However, (she) had reported its loss to the Grove Street Police station and to the Immigration Department, and the latter had issued her with a photocopy of the permit.”

It added: “She had this copy on her person on the night of 12 to 13 December 2014 when she was unlawfully detained by the police.”

The woman was taken with 11 other women to the Central Police Station on East Street, where she was detained overnight. She alleges that while at the Central Police Station, a female police officer told another officer “you should put them in a barrel and sink them”, referring to the group of women.

When the woman’s husband went to the Central Police Station to ask for his wife’s release, it was alleged that a female officer told him “she’s a Jamaican and should be sent back home”.

On December 12, she was transported from Central Police Station to the Central Detective Unit. The Jamaican Honorary Consul, Patrick Hanlan, visited her at CDU; however, she was not released despite his intervention. She was then transported to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre (CRDC).

The writ read: “Upon (her) arrival at the Detention Centre, her cellphone and all of the documents in her possession (sic), She kept the copy of her spousal permit in her bosom showing it to every (sic) she encountered but no one paid her any attention.”

“The conditions in the Detention Centre were inhumane and degrading. The centre was grossly overcrowded. Hundreds of women, children and babies were lying crowded together on the floor.

It continued: “(She) had to step over people in order to find a free space on the floor in which she could rest. The floor itself was filthy. Certain women who were menstruating at the time had no access to sanitary products and were left with no option but to bleed on the floor, and had done so.

“The toilet facilities were also in a state of appalling filth. (She) was provided with no washing facilities or supplies by the detention centre staff and had to use her own underwear and a piece of soap provided to her by a fellow detainee in order to clean herself.”

The woman was detained at the CRDC until December 15 and the circumstances of her release from the facility is now under criminal investigation.

Last night, Callenders & Co attorney Fred Smith confirmed that the woman will be seeking at least $1m in damages.

Last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the primary agency for the Organisation of American States, issued precautionary measures for immediate action to protect the life and physical integrity of people held in immigration detention at the Carmichael Road facility.

The writ read: “The breaches of the Plaintiff’s constitutional rights were all committed by servants of the Crown in positions of trust and responsibility, which positions carry with them an obligation to safeguard and uphold the rule of law and The Constitution.”

It continued: “In the premises, it is averred that the First (Attorney General) and Fourth Defendants (Commissioner of Police) are vicariously liable for each constitutional rights violation committed against the Plaintiff by the unnamed police officers referred to above, and the First, Second (Immigration Minister) and Third Defendants (Immigration Director) are vicariously liable for each false imprisonment committed against the Plaintiff by those immigration officers referred to above, including the Fifth Defendant (Bastian).”

Comments

birdiestrachan 3 years, 8 months ago

I know it is wrong for the officer to rape the woman if he did. But there is no surprise that Fred smith is in the middle of this situation. If the officer committed this crime he should be punished. there is no excuse for it. That aside. We all know Fred Smith can and will Spin a tale. and his imagination knows no bounds.

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Emac 3 years, 8 months ago

Fred smith is not saying that these atrocities allegedly occurred. His client, a Jamaican woman, is making these claims. You can't blame Smith for this one. He is only being a lawyer. So if you want to single him out for taking on such a case then you should also call out these other lowlife lawyers who would take on any case, no matter how horrid, for the sake of money.

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Economist 3 years, 8 months ago

What I find troubling, is that if she had the copy of her Spousal Permit on her, then why was she taken away? In this day of modern cell phone technology, they should be able to confirm her story right there, on the spot.

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DEDDIE 3 years, 8 months ago

When I was in the public service in the 80's we used hand written receipts, today they are still doing the same thing. With modern technology all you have to do is have a senior immigration officer with an ipad on the bus connected to immigration and type in her name everything comes up. Better still, press her finger print against a print reader and her picture and info comes up. The benefit is that you now have space in the bus and at the detention center for those who are truly illegal.Wow, these are the guys we voted for.

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thomas 3 years, 8 months ago

No mention at all of a rape. This article is incomplete.

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Economist 3 years, 8 months ago

No one has said that she did not have a Spousal Permit and she was released, the Police did an investigation and felt that they had enough evidence to charge him with a very serious offence, so yes, I will take her word.

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jamaicaproud 3 years, 8 months ago

When this whole so called roundup started, you guys were warned to do it legally and humanely and not based on emotions. Even if the accusation of rape is not true and cannot be proven, what business does a government official have bringing a detainee to his home

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jamaicaproud 3 years, 8 months ago

Brother(Then I can never be a brother to an uneducated imbecile) who wakes up with hatred , you could never pay me any fee, ransom or bounty to visit that place.

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