The family of dead taxi driver, Lalbachan Bachan, who died while in custody at the Suddie Police Station, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), is suing the State for over $100 million.
Court documents filed show that the claimant, Samantha Bachan, the dead man’s wife, is claiming damages in excess of $10 million for the death and injuries of her 39-year old husband while in the lock-ups and damages in excess $10 million for negligence of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
She is also claiming another $10 million for breach of statutory duty; GPF’s violation of the deceased fundamental right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment and for the unlawful deprivation of life.
The family, who is being represented by Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall is also seeking special damages in the sum of $66 million.
The family’s lawyer has also stated that at the time of Bachan’s death, he had four children who were all dependent on him. According to the legal documents, at the time of his arrest, Bachan was healthy and bore no marks of violence, however, a post-mortem examination conducted on the dead man’s body found several abrasions.
According to the legal proceedings, Bachan, who was a taxi driver, earned about $10,000 per day. He worked six days a week, the legal proceedings state, which totalled to $3,120,000 per year.
Bachan was arrested on June 28, 2019, at Maria’s Lodge, Essequibo Coast. He died during the night on June 30. His widow recalled that her husband was initially arrested on June 12 for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was placed on $20,000 bail at the Suddie Police Station and was told to appear before the Suddie Magistrate’s Court on June 20.
However, after he failed to attend court, an arrest warrant was issued for him.
According to the widow, Police visited their home on the same day and placed him in the lock-ups at the Suddie Police Station. She said that she was not allowed to see her husband until the morning of June 30. The widow recalled that her husband inquired about their kids and complained of feeling unwell.
On July 1, she recounted that as the family was preparing to visit the police station, they received news that he had died. She explained that she rushed to the Suddie Public Hospital but he had already died.
After the incident, Police in a release to the media claimed that Bachan was the lone prisoner in the cell. A post-mortem examination conducted by Dr Nehaul Singh on the man’s body gave the cause of death as asphyxiation.