Guard shot in prison escape sues State

A for­mer se­cu­ri­ty guard at the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal, who was wound­ed as po­lice at­tempt­ed to ap­pre­hend prison es­capee Al­lan “Scan­ny” Mar­tin, al­most ex­act­ly four years ago, has filed a law­suit against the State for com­pen­sa­tion.


In the as­sault and bat­tery law­suit, filed in the Port-of-Spain High Court, lawyers rep­re­sent­ing An­tia Bartholomew claimed that po­lice of­fi­cers act­ed neg­li­gent­ly and reck­less­ly when they al­leged­ly at­tempt­ed to ap­pre­hend Mar­tin.

In her state­ment of case, which was ob­tained by Guardian Me­dia, Bartholomew’s lawyers sought to give a syn­op­sis of what she claimed tran­spired on Ju­ly 24, 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to Bartholomew, she was on her way to pur­chase lunch at the hos­pi­tal when she stopped at the se­cu­ri­ty booth.

Bartholomew was alert­ed when she saw two co-work­ers run in­to the booth. They then told her that there was an es­cape at the Port-of-Spain State Prison and one of the pris­on­ers was on the hos­pi­tal com­pound.

Af­ter hid­ing for a short time, Bartholomew’s col­leagues ran out­side and she at­tempt­ed to fol­low them.

“Bartholomew ex­it­ed the guard booth and as she did so, she was grabbed by the es­caped pris­on­er by the name of Al­lan “Scan­ny” Mar­tin and tak­en back in­side,” the doc­u­ment stat­ed.

Bartholomew claimed that Mar­tin was un­armed and sim­ply held on to her while po­lice of­fi­cers sur­round­ing the booth.

“With­out any warn­ing or any at­tempt at ne­go­ti­a­tion to paci­fy the sit­u­a­tion, the afore­men­tioned po­lice of­fi­cers opened fire, shoot­ing through the win­dows of the guard booth,” the doc­u­ment stat­ed.

Her lawyers claimed that at the time, Mar­tin’s back was turned to the of­fi­cers and he was hug­ging Bartholomew.

They claimed that Bartholomew shout­ed at the of­fi­cers to stop shoot­ing be­cause Mar­tin was un­armed but they ig­nored her and con­tin­ued.

“At no point in time, did Mar­tin shoot at the po­lice of­fi­cers. At no point in time, was Mar­tin a threat to Bartholomew in any way. At no point in time, was Mar­tin a threat to the po­lice of­fi­cers,” the doc­u­ment stat­ed.

Bartholomew was ward­ed at the hos­pi­tal for four days be­fore she was dis­charged. She was even­tu­al­ly di­ag­nosed with chron­ic post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der.

In the law­suit, Bartholomew’s lawyers are con­tend­ing that the of­fi­cers breached the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) Use of Dead­ly Force pol­i­cy as they claim that there was no im­mi­nent dan­ger of death and they (the of­fi­cers) did not do a rea­son­able as­sess­ment of the pre­vail­ing cir­cum­stances be­fore they opened fire on Mar­tin and her.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, around mid­day on the date of the in­ci­dent, Mar­tin, Has­san Atwell and Christo­pher “Mon­ster” Sel­by al­leged­ly shot their way out of the prison, lo­cat­ed along Fred­er­ick Street.

PC Sher­man May­nard, who was sta­tioned out­side the prison, was killed dur­ing the in­ci­dent, while prison of­fi­cer Leon Rouse was shot and wound­ed.

Mar­tin, who was at the time on tri­al for the kid­nap­ping and mur­der of busi­ness­man Vin­dra Naipaul-Cool­man, was killed dur­ing the in­ci­dent at the hos­pi­tal while Atwell was found mur­dered af­ter hid­ing out for sev­er­al days in east Port-of-Spain.

Short­ly af­ter Atwell’s death, Sel­by sur­ren­dered to po­lice and was charged with ten of­fences in­clud­ing May­nard’s mur­der.

Bartholomew is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Tim Char­riandy and Reynold Wal­dropt.

Reporter: Derek Achong