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$80k For Being Punched By Cop

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Supreme Court has awarded $82,856 in damages to Pedro Morley after a police officer punched him in his mouth, damaging eight of his teeth.

Police Constable Courtney Hall, who The Tribune understands is still on the Royal Bahamas Police Force, pleaded guilty to the allegations when it came before the Police Tribunal.

However, Police Commissioner Paul Rolle declined yesterday to say what punishment he faced.

“We don’t discuss our internal tribunal in the media,” Commissioner Rolle said. “That’s why it’s called internal. You can reach him for comment.”

 According to the judgement of Assistant Registrar Renaldo Toote, Mr Morley and a woman were talking outside Club Enve around 2am on October 5, 2019 when PC Hall approached the couple and asked if they were talking about him.

“Unprovoked, Hall removed a firearm from his waist and pointed it in the direction of Morley placing him in fear for his life,” the judgement said. “Hall then identified himself as a police officer, however, it must be noted that he was not on duty at this time and the evidence suggests that he was not carrying out any official police functions.

 “The plaintiff, being fearful, immediately left the club. While travelling south on East Street near Big One shoe store, he was stopped by a marked police vehicle driven by uniformed officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who ordered him and his passenger to exit the vehicle. While exiting his vehicle, Hall arrived on the scene in a private vehicle and immediately approached the plaintiff and punched him twice in his mouth which resulted in two of his teeth immediately becoming loose. In totality, the plaintiff received damage to eight of his teeth.”

 Mr Morley subsequently received dental treatment. Dr Dante Bazard reported that he required “an eight-unit bridge which would eventually cost $9,856 to repair his teeth.”

 The defendants in the case included the commissioner of police, the attorney general and PC Hall. They did not defend against the claims during the trial, leaving Registrar Toote to accept Mr Morley’s version of events uncontested.

 He wrote: “The conduct in this matter is nothing less than a contumelious disregard for the plaintiff. The second defendant’s (PC Hall) conduct in particular was high-handed and outrageous. From the evidence, it appears that the sole reason for the assault was to publicly showcase Hall’s ‘machismo’.

 “In Martin Orr v Attorney General and ors, (Justice Winder), when awarding damages for exemplary and aggravated damages allowed a global sum of $15,000 to the plaintiff, a cruise ship employee who was unlawfully detained in The Bahamas for a period of five months and maliciously prosecuted. Having considered the severity of the abuse suffered by the plaintiff, I will award the sum of $5,000 for exemplary damages and $5,000 for aggravated damages.”

In addition to the combined $10,000 for exemplary damages and aggravated damages, the ruling also awards Mr Morely $9,856 in special damages, $45,000 for assault and battery and $18,000 for legal costs.

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