$80M lawsuit against State, cop dismissed after Colwyn Harding a no-show

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Colwyn Harding

Colwyn Harding – the man who alleged that the Police had sodomised him with a condom-covered baton back in November 2013, lost his chance to have the dismissal of his lawsuit against the State recalled after failing to comply with the Judge’s order.

In February 2021 High Court Judge, Justice Navindra Singh had dismissed the two lawsuits filed by Harding against Constable Devin Singh and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, on behalf of the State.

However, Justice Singh had subsequently recalled his judgement on the condition that Harding pay the two respondents $150,000 each in costs by July 16, 2021. It was an opportunity for Harding to escape from the weight of the judgement… an opportunity Harding did not take.

According to a statement from the Legal Affairs Ministry, Justice Singh was forced to officially dismiss Harding’s case when it came up before him on Tuesday, because Harding never paid the court awarded costs.

Additionally, Harding failed to show up at all on Tuesday. Back in February, it was Harding’s lawyer who had failed to show up. According to the statement, Harding will now have to pay $1 million to both parties.

Harding had contended in the lawsuit that he was viciously assaulted by several members of the Guyana Police Force who entered his home on November 15, 2013. He also claimed that Police Constable Singh 19175 had inserted a foreign object into his anus, triggering a need for corrective surgery, and that the said rank repeatedly assaulted him in the Timehri Police Outpost between November 15, 2013 – November 18, 2013.

As a result of the injuries sustained during the alleged assault, he developed an intestinal hernia and had to undergo multiple surgeries. Constables Devin Singh and Rosell Tilbury were subsequently charged with assault causing actual bodily harm against the then 23-year-old man. Both officers have since been cleared of the charges due to insufficient evidence.

In the two lawsuits filed back in 2014, one was against the two cops, whom Harding alleged assaulted and battered him, causing him to sustain injuries. However, the State had denied these claims. Specifically, the State asserted that the medical evidence did not support Harding’s contention of a foreign object being inserted into his anatomy, and that any surgical procedures undertaken were as a result of a medical condition which he had developed.

Harding was asking the court to grant him damages in excess of $100,000 for assault and battery between November 15 and 22, 2013, at Timehri, and exemplary damages. Meanwhile, the second suit was filed against the Attorney General in which Harding alleged that his fundamental rights were breached as a result of the actions of the Police ranks.

He had asked the court to grant him damages in excess of $80 million for breach of his fundamental right to protection from torture and/or inhumane and degrading treatment as guaranteed by Article 141 of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana between the 18th day of November 2013 and the 24th day of December 2014 at Timehri.

Additionally, he sought damages in excess of $100,000 each for breach of his protected fundamental right to protection from inhumane treatment; for breach of his fundamental right to protection against an arbitrary search of his person as guaranteed by Article 143 of the Constitution; for breach of his right to protection against torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment as provided by Article 154 (a) of the Constitution; and for breach of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by Article 139 of the Constitution, along with exemplary damages.

Harding had also asked that the defendants in each action pay the costs of his legal fees for bringing the actions.