By Shermain Bique-Charles
A former police constable who was released from prison earlier this year is making good on a promise to take legal action against the Superintendent of Prisons, Lt Col Eugene Phillip, and four wardens.
Joseph Peters is also including Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin in that lawsuit, and has accused all the parties of failing to address an incident of serious brutality which occurred on April 28 while he was an inmate.
Peters, who had been incarcerated since 2017 for a crime called demanding with menace, or bribery, alleged that he was beaten severely by four prison guards after he refused to provide information about items found inside a prison cell.
The Dominican national, who also holds an Antigua and Barbuda passport, was released from prison on June 3 and, on the advice of his attorney, Wendel Robinson, made an official report about the alleged beating to St John’s Police Station.
“He has given his statement so long [ago] and I am having difficulties getting the investigations initiated. For whatever reason, it seems as though the investigations are just not getting off the ground,” Robinson said.
Robinson said the Chambers of Daniels, Phillips and Associates, from which he operates, has the option of bringing a private criminal lawsuit against the officers.
“I just cannot comprehend why no investigation [has been] initiated,” the lawyer said. “A statement was taken and that was all. Nothing has been done for the past couple of weeks. The officers, I understand, have not been interviewed. I have heard nothing about the internal investigation that supposedly was to take place within the prison itself.”
Robinson said after the report was made, an affidavit was sent to Lt Col Phillip and Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney.
However, the attorney posited that the recipients have deliberately been avoiding the matter.
Peters, through his lawyers, is suing for monetary compensation for the breaching of his constitutional rights through torture, inhumane conditions and degrading treatment.
Furthermore, Robinson said that prison authorities waited eight days before they took his client to seek medical attention for the injuries he sustained during the alleged beating.
That matter, he said, will form the basis of the lawsuit, because according to Robinson, Peters’ health has been seriously compromised as a result of the careless attitude of the prison officials.
Meanwhile, Peters was recently discharged from Mount St John’s Medical Centre after undergoing what his attorney described as “successful” nose reconstruction surgery.
“The surgery was successful from all indications. He is home resting. His face is still braced. It has to keep his nose intact,” Robinson said.
Neither Lt Col Phillip or Attorney General Benjamin responded to requests for comment up to press time.