A Maracas/St Joseph man who was allegedly beaten by an off-duty police officer while arguing with his mother at their home after a party has sued the officer and the State.
Anton Licorish’s assault and battery lawsuit against PC Jervon Ramie and the Office of the Attorney General began before High Court Judge Frank Seepersad yesterday morning.
The incident occurred at the house Licorish shared with his parents and sister on July 11, 2020.
Earlier that night, Licorish and several of his friends attended a birthday party at his neighbour’s home. After the party ended, Licorish, his friends, and Ramie, who was invited by one of Licorish’s close friends, returned to his parents’ home.
Licorish’s father, Anthony, told his son he could not host the lime as they had a guest staying in their annexe, which they periodically rented on the international online short rental service Airbnb. Licorish went into the kitchen to appeal to his mother Katherine but she reiterated her husband’s position.
Licorish’s mother allegedly raised her hand to hit him after he raised his voice. He grabbed her hand causing the beer bottle he was holding to fall and shatter.
Licorish claimed Ramie, who was in the other room, intervened, grabbed him by the neck and shoved him towards the glass door, leading from the kitchen to outside, causing it to shatter. Mutual friends intervened and separated them.
Licorish claimed Ramie went to his car and returned with a baton, which he used to hit him several times.
Police officers eventually responded and Licorish was taken to hospital for medical treatment.
In 2021, Licorish’s lawyers filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the disclosure of T&T Police Service (TTPS) records related to the incident after Ramie was not charged.
In the lawsuit, Licorish is claiming compensation for the injuries he suffered to his head, arms and legs. He is also seeking US$286.15, which represents the rent his parents missed out on after their annexe was temporarily de-listed from Airbnb based on a complaint made by the guest who witnessed the altercation.
Licorish listed the AG’s Office as a party to the lawsuit as his attorneys claimed that it was vicariously liable because Ramie identified himself as a police officer assigned to the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB) before he intervened in the dispute.
During the hearing before Justice Seepersad, Licorish and his parents testified and were cross-examined by Ramie’s lawyer Gerard Gray. Licorish’s parents admitted that their son was consuming alcohol before the incident but denied that he was drunk and acting incoherently.
“He was under the influence of alcohol but I can’t say he was drunk,” his father said.
Both denied Gray’s suggestions that Ramie only intervened after Licorish allegedly held his mother in a headlock and threatened her with the broken beer bottle.
Confronted with video footage of a portion of the altercation which was captured by CCTV cameras outside their house, the couple maintained that it showed Ramie with the weapon attacking their son, who was attempting to defend himself.
In his evidence, Licorish stated that he did not know Ramie and met him for the first time before the incident.
In defence of the case, the AG’s Office is contending that it should not be held liable as Ramie was not on active duty at the time.
Ramie has also denied any wrongdoing as he claimed he intervened after Licorish became violent. He denied hitting Licorish on his head with the baton but admitted that he dealt him several blows to his hand and back in an attempt to incapacitate him.
The trial is expected to be completed today.
Licorish was represented by Kiev Chesney and Chelsea Stewart-Chesney. The AG’s Office was represented by Rachael Jacob.