Unlawful arrest leads to suit

| 05/08/2013

(CNS): Sandra Catron, a local activist who was the victim of what was found to be an unlawful arrest, has filed suit against the police, the attorney general and a member of his office. Catron was arrested over one year ago in connection with allegations of misusing a ICT network, but a courtroom review, in which she represented herself, found that the arrest was unlawful because the justice of the peace who signed the warrant admitted hehad no clue what he was signing and because the police had not followed the proper process. Since then, the Attorney General’s Chambers has offered Catron just $3,000 in damages and the director of public prosecutions has continued to press ahead with the charges against her.

Catron, who is expected to represent herself in a Grand Court jury trial later this year defending allegations that she sent harassing texts, has complained of significant mistreatment at the hands of the police since she was arrested and handcuffed outside her place of work on 27 July last year.

In a lengthy statement of claim, Catron sets out the series of events, in which she describes poor standards of behaviour from police and what appears to be excessive action in relation to the allegations. In addition, Catron catalogues a disturbing list of allegations over how she was treated by counsel during the judicial review of the arrest.

In the law suit Catron alleges trespass, assault and battery, unlawful arrest and false imprisonment. She also claims a malicious abuse of process and prosecution.

Setting out the particulars, Catron describes in detail her arrest and the search of her home, inappropriate comments from the police involved and sexual harassment by one of the officers who interviewed her. She says that the police made unlawful decisions and actions about her confiscated property because she had instigated a judicial review of that arrest.

Catron claims she has suffered emotional distress and financial losses as well as professional damages as a result of the unlawful arrest and the subsequent saga. She says she was suspended for six months from her employment and, as a result, suffered irreparable damage to her professional reputation.

Despite making numerous attempts to settle both the judicial review matters and other claims to which she would have been legally entitled, she has been subjected to a continuation of the criminal prosecution in what she said is the crown’s hope of lessening the civil liability that the police and AG’s office face as a result of the findings by Justice Alex Henderson that she was unlawfully arrested.

Catron is no stranger to the courtroom, having taken on the police, prosecution and AG’s offices before in cases relating to a stolen dog and damage to property.

Catron is currently also under investigation by the authorities in connection with a sex offenders registry that she has posted on Facebook in defiance of local legislation, which in many cases prevents the publication of the names of convicted sexual predators because of the dangers of identifying their victims in such a small jurisdiction. Having campaigned for years to no avail to remove this restriction and for a formal register of convicted offenders, Catron has taken direct action and set up her own informal register, which is now under police scrutiny.

See writ below.

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