Lawyer Joshua Francis sues the state
Prominent attorney Joshua Francis is now before the court seeking redress not for a client but for himself against two police officers and the Attorney General.
A lawsuit filed on June 10, 2021, against police officer Judy Ettinoff Anslem and acting Deputy Police Chief Davidson Valerie as well as the Attorney General Levi Peters alleges malicious prosecution and false imprisonment, breach of privacy, confidence, statutory duty, constitutional rights, and pre-trial prejudice.
The claimant alleges that the defendants allowed third parties and irrelevant influences to dictate the bringing of a charge against him knowingly and fully aware that the prospects of a conviction would be unsuccessful.
He contends that the purpose of the claimant's arrest, detention, and prosecution was to harm his reputation and lessen his chances of re-electability as the Parliamentary Representative of the Roseau South Constituency.
According to his statement of claim, Francis alleges that on Thursday, March 3, 2016, he visited the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Roseau at the request of an officer at the CID through his solicitor concerning an alleged report of "indecent assault of a minor."
The claim states on arrival at the Police Station about 2:00 p.m. Francis was arrested and was informed by Anslem and Valerie that he could not leave the police station.
He later was questioned by Anslem and denied the allegations for which he was arrested and or caused to be arrested.
The statement went on to state that later that evening, the attorney requested his release to return the following day but instead was placed in a cell at police headquarters in the "absence of reasonable and probable cause."
Francis notes, the cell in which he was placed was "hot, dirty and filled with stale human urine, excrete, waste food, and garbage causing him significant pain, distress, and discomfort."
The claim states further that he remained in the cell for seven hours and was kept in police custody for 28 hours before being released on station bail.
"I could not sleep because of the mental, psychological anguish and distress I experienced by an arrest and detention lacking reasonable and probable cause without evidence to support the subject complaint," he stated.
The matter also became the subject of public debate contrary to section 38 of the Sexual Offences Act 1 of 1998.
He labels the decision of the defendants to prosecute him as "motivated by malice" because there was no evidence against him and there was significant exculpatory evidence that would have caused any reasonable investigating officer not to charge him."
He claims exemplary and aggravated damages for the "unlawful and malicious conduct of the defendants causing harm to family, personal and his professional reputation."
Also, he claims medical expenses (counseling) of $2,000, the legal cost of $30,000, pain and suffering, special damages, social and economic loss as a husband and professional among others and further or other relief as the court deems fit including cost.
He is represented in the matter by Ronald Charles & Associates.