A man who alleged that a policeman ruptured his anus and intestines with a condom-covered baton is claiming compensation GUY$100 million compensation from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for injury and wrongful detention.
Colwyn Harding,23, was allegedly “violently assaulted” on November 15, 2013 by a number of police officers, in particular a named constable, when the lawmen attended to a building at Timehri North and later at the Timehri Police Station.
“We are instructed that Constable (name provided) along with the assistance of other police officers present placed a condom on a wooden baton and inserted it into our client’s rectum and further inwards thereby causing severe injury to our client’s intestines,” said the injured man’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes.
Meanwhile, the Alliance For Change (AFC) has called for the resignation of the Police Commissioner, Leroy Brumell and the Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee. The party is also appealing to the public for donations to assist in purchasing colostomy bags of GUY$3,000 each to collect Harding’s faeces because his intestines are malfunctioning while he remains hospitalised.
The Alliance For Change holds the Commissioner of Police and The Minister of Home Affairs responsible for the rogue activities of ranks like Constable Singh and feel they both should resign as is expected in any democracy. The failure of the policemen and women at Timehri station to act while a clearly visibly injured Colwyn Harding lay motionless on the cell floor speaks volumes of the prevailing climate in the Guyana olice Force. We are well aware of their failure to institute effective procedures, checks and balances that could have prevented such an incident from occurring, and their failure to act or seek redress after becoming aware of the situation.
We demand to know if Constable Singh has been charged and what disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against him. We further demand that both the Commissioner of Police and Minister Rohee resign immediately.
Colwyn Harding could be your son. We ask all Guyanese to raise their voices in outrage recognizing that the sons of ordinary Guyanese are being targeted and snuffed out with no indication of this situation improving over the last few years. The fact that no institutions or services could come to the aid of Mr. Harding is even more worrying.
The bags can be delivered to Cathy Hughes M.P at her offices above Sidewalk Café in Middle Street, and will be forwarded to Sharon Harding.
Hughes has formally given Police Commissioner, Leroy Brumell a 72-hour deadline that expires on Thursday January 16 to pay GUY$100 million for the alleged “torture” that amounted to a violation of his constitutional right to protection from inhuman treatment.
“We are instructed to demand as we hereby do, the sum of $100,000,000 in damages for the assault and injury caused to our client,” the lawyer said. He cautioned the Police Commissioner that if the money was not paid within 72 hours, constitutional and other proceedings would be taken against him without further notice.
The lawyer said Harding has advised that the money is being demanded because his client was detained for four days, the gravity of the incident as well as the compliance of the police force and its failure to act.
The Attorney-at-Law said his client was also entitled to GUY$3 million per day for “just his detention” based on the Attorney General’s offer of GUY$500 thousand dollars to Justice Navindra Singh for four hours detention. Singh, while being a lawyer was stopped and detained by police in May 2006 for four hours for an alleged traffic offence. In a lawsuit against the two policemen and the Attorney General, Justice Singh had claimed damages for police of assault, malicious arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
The Alliance For Change (AFC) of which Hughes is its Chairman lamented that until today the victim lies critical in a bed at the Georgetown Hospital with feces oozing out of his protruding intestines, after a police officers’ baton was shoved up his anus.
The party noted that the name Constable had told Harding that he was going to bugger Harding and videotape it. Harding said that he was not a girl and there was no way in which he was going to let that happen. Singh then took his baton and hit Harding repeatedly until he fell unconscious.
After the baton was inserted into Harding’s anus, he started to scream and Singh inserted two panties into his mouth in order to suppress the screams. Harding lost consciousness again. After the beating became excessive, the inspector said let us take this man to the station, the party said.
The Constable continued to beat Harding after which he and his girlfriend were arrested along with a thirteen-year-old boy from the area. They were taken to the Police station at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. After a short while the officer at the police station observed that Harding was looking poorly and called the Constable at the Timehri Police station and told him to come and uplift his prisoner as he did not want him to die at the outpost. Mr. Singh and a party of policemen then went and uplifted Mr. Harding and took him to Timehri Police station.
At Timehri station the Constable allegedly continued to beat Harding in the presence of an Inspector and a Corporal. The thirteen year old who had been arrested with them told the officers that it was his brother who stole the articles. The police then left the station to arrest the brother. After arresting the brother and recovering the stolen articles Colwyn Harding demanded to be released and he was again beaten unconscious again by Constable Singh.
He was allegedly placed in a faeces strewn cell and was crying in deep pain. The other prisoners who were in the adjoining cell repeatedly called out to the police to taken Mr. Harding to hospital as they feared he would die in the cells. The following day instructions came from Georgetown to take Harding to the hospital and again the Constable was assigned the task of taking Harding to the hospital.
Harding maintains that the Constable went to a rum shop where he left the victim in the vehicle while he went to drink and later came out of the rum shop visibly staggering and then he took Mr. Harding back to the Timehri Police station.
Harding remained in custody until Monday when he was taken to the Providence Magistrate’s court where there was no case jacket for him so he was kept overnight at the Providence police station. On the following day charges of assaulting a police officer and disorderly behaviour were filed against him, his girlfriend and another person. He was admitted to bail in the sum of $50,000.00 on both charges.
His family was unable to afford the bail and he was remanded to custody at the Georgetown Prisons. While in the prisons he deteriorated further and was finally was taken to the hospital where he was given painkillers and sent away. On his return to the prison he passed out and was taken to the hospital where he had to undergo emergency surgery.
He thereafter had to undergo further surgery. He has ruptured intestines through which faces are being expelled. There are no colostomy bags at the GPHC and they cost $3,000.00 per bag so they have strapped his stomach with pampers in the meantime.
Monday night they discovered that there is a serious infection in his intestines as a result of the treatment and colostomy bags have been almost impossible to locate.
Ironically Mr. Harding’s mother, Sharon Harding is an ex policewoman who was a member of the People’s Parliament.
She texted Commissioner Brummel early in December to inform him of the situation and was immediately contacted by Commander from Division A Assistant Commissioner Vyphuis and invited to Brickdam police station where she spoke to Mr. Vyphuis, Mr. Watts and Mr. Vanderhyden about the matter.
She was advised to give a statement to Police complaints department and despite having given the statement nothing was done. Commissioner Vyphuis last week informed her that they would take her son to court to see if they can get the bail reduced. An attempt was made on Friday last when Mr. Harding was removed from the police station and taken to the Magistrate’s court but there was no court jacket.
After being contacted by Sharon Harding, AFC Chairman and Attorney at Law Nigel Hughes was able to yesterday secure Harding’s release on his own recognizance but the court has not informed the Prison so he remains shackled to the bed in the male surgical ward.
On Sunday the 12th January 2014, Mr. Hughes took his client Sharon Harding to the Timehri Police station to make a formal report of the matter. An extended report was taken by the constable on duty and recorded in the station diary.