S.O.E: Cabbie Sues The Government $17.8 Million in Damages

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of St. James-based taxi operator Roshaine Clarke that his constitutional rights and freedoms were breached when he was detained during a state of emergency in 2018.

Mr. Clarke, who had been detained for months without charge, sued the government for what he said was his illegal detention and a violation of his rights.

In its judgment on Friday, delivered by Justice Chester Stamp, the court held that Mr. Clarke's fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution - his right to liberty, right to be informed as to the reason for his detention as soon as practicable and right to be brought forthwith or as soon as practicable before an officer authorised by law or a court - had been violated.

The court said the Emergency Powers Regulations 22 and 32 and regulations 30, 33, and 38 breached the fundamental rights of Freedom of Movement and Freedom of Liberty under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

It found that the measures gave the government "unduly, unfettered power to abrogate the fundamental rights of a wide class of persons in the society without evidence establishing that they were reasonably justifiable for achieving the purposes of the state of emergency".

Mr. Clarke was awarded damages in the sum of $17.8 million, inclusive of compensatory, vindicatory and aggravated damages.

He was represented by attorneys Michael Hylton and Micheal Hemmings, while the Attorney General was represented by Matthew Gabbidon.

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