Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Grieving mom awarded settlement over son's unlawful killing

Almost nine years after Mandy Louisy was shot dead by police, a civil case brought against the State by his mother has awarded her $14,838.98, with an interest rate of six percent per annum from the date of judgement to the date of payment.

But the amount is not to the liking of attorney and human rights advocate, Mary Francis who claimed that it was ‘paltry’.

Francis represented Sophia Louisy, the administratrix of the estate of her son.

The Attorney General was sued since he is the legal representative of the Crown, as the police officers involved in the matter were acting as servants or agents of the Crown at the time of the incident.

Sophia Louisy claimed that her son's death was caused by trespass to his person, and/or the unlawful, wrongful, negligent and/or reckless acts of PC 448 Ternis Mc Vane and PC 233 Ain Polius, which she claimed were done in bad faith.

She claimed that on the morning of August 9, 2013, she was told that her son had been shot by police and was in critical condition at hospital. Her case was that on that fateful day in the early hours of the morning between midnight and 12:30am, Mandy was walking on the road in Chassin, Babonneau when he was stopped by PC Mc Vane and PC Polius for no reason.

The two officers demanded that Mandy, then 32, remove his hands from his pockets. In the process, Mandy was hit several times with a baton by the Police.

In order to escape the beating, Mandy attempted to flee into a nearby potato patch, below the level of the road - and that, his mother alleged, was when he was shot at close range in the chest by PC Mc Vane, causing him to fall into the drain below the road.

Mandy was taken to the Victoria Hospital where he succumbed to his injures later that morning.

Court documents stated that Ms Louisy alleged that the Police, trained in the law and sworn to protect, had a duty to protect Mandy’s life and not take action which would cause him grievous bodily harm or death. Alternatively, Ms Louisy alleged that the Police owed a duty of care to Mandy to exercise caution in handling and discharging a firearm.

The Crown, in its defence, claimed that the Police lawfully executed their duties when they approached Mandy and asked him to show his hands. They alleged that Mandy attacked them with a knife and that in an attempt to avoid injury, PC Mc Vane jumped back and then was tackled swiftly and aggressively by Mandy, who overpowered him with his superior strength and size.

The officers alleged that Mandy, who was now on top of PC Mc Vane, choked him, causing him to fear for his life. They allege that Mandy also attempted to stab PC Polius while remaining on top of PC Mc Vane, attempting to strangle him.

They further alleged that PC Mc Vane, in self- defence, discharged one bullet in the direction of Mandy while he was on top of him, hitting him in the chest area.

The officers declared that Mandy was neither shot negligently or recklessly but in self-defence by PC Mc Vane in fear for his life and in response to an unprovoked and aggressive attack. They denied the allegations of bad faith and argued that at all material times, they used the necessary force to protect themselves against the attacks of Mandy.

The officers also denied targeting Mandy as they were on mobile patrol at the time, and argued Ms Louisy was not entitled to any of the relief claimed. They called for her claim to be dismissed.

Judge Cenac-Phulgence did not accept that PC Mc Vane shot Mandy in self-defence. She also found the shooting of Mandy was unlawful and an excessive use of force in the circumstances.

“I also find that PC Mc Vane and PC Polius were negligent in their handling of Mandy from their first contact with him. The claimant (Ms. Louisy) is therefore entitled to damages,” Judge Cenac-Phulgence said.

The judge awarded Ms Louisy special damages in the sum of $838.98 for funeral expenses at the rate of 3% per annum from the date of the incident to the date of judgement. On the matter of general damages, the sum of $9,000.00 with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of service of the claim to the date of judgment was awarded for pain and suffering.

Mandy’s mother was also awarded damages for loss of expectation of life in the sum of $5,000.00 with interest on the total amount of $14,838.98 at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of judgment to the date of payment.

It must be noted that an inquest into the incident not long after it occurred in 2013 found that the killing was lawful.

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