An auto body straightener from Cedros, who was maliciously prosecuted for stealing a car in 2012, is set to receive $127,000 in compensation from the State.
In May 2020, High Court Judge Joan Charles upheld Trevor Samaroo’s case after the Office of the Attorney General admitted that it had no evidence to justify his arrest and subsequent prosecution.
The compensation owed to Samaroo was recently assessed by High Court Master Sherlanne Pierre.
According to the evidence in the case, in July 2012, Samaroo was vacationing with his family in Toco, when he received a call from a neighbour, who informed him that police officers were at his home with a warrant for his arrest.
Three days later, Samaroo voluntarily surrendered to police at the Cedros Police Station and was charged with stealing a car from Luke Hendrickson, despite denying any wrongdoing and claiming that he had purchased the car from Marlon Des Vignes, who he believed to be the lawful owner.
Samaroo was released on $50,000 bail and made 40 court appearances in the Point Fortin Magistrate’s Court before the charge was eventually dismissed.
During his criminal trial, Hendrickson testified that he did not recognise Samaroo, as he was not the man who robbed him of the vehicle.
In his lawsuit, Samaroo claimed that police officers did not have reasonable or probable cause to suspect that he was guilty of the crime and acted with malice.
Samaroo claimed that after being charged he suffered humiliation, as he was shunned by friends and neighbours. He also claimed that the charge affected his business.
“I state that this incident has permanently tarnished my name and reputation, as I have worked in the car straightening business for almost thirty years and having an allegation of stealing a vehicle on my name would certainly affect my business,” Samaroo said in his witness statement in the case.
Master Pierre ordered $70,000 in general damages and $20,000 in exemplary damages for Samaroo.
She also ordered the State to cover the $12,000 in legal fees he incurred in defending the criminal charge and the almost $26,000 he spent to pursue the lawsuit for compensation.
Samaroo was represented by Abdel Mohammed, while Radha Sookdeo represented the State.