THE Supreme Court yesterday ordered the State to pay close to $21 million to a 40-year-old Hanover farmer who 16 years ago was shot in the back while running away from the police who had earlier assaulted him.
The order in Michael Llewellyn’s favour was made by Justice Martin Gayle who had found the cops — Inspector Gladstone Grant and Sergeant Phillip Smith — liable for shooting and injuring him without probable cause.
Llewellyn was awarded $20 million for pain and suffering and loss of amenities, $500,000 for handicap on the labour market and $391,100 in special damages plus interest. Costs were also awarded in Llewellyn’s favour.
“I find that Mr Llewellyn has impressed me as a witness of truth,” Justice Gayle remarked in his written judgement. “He seems more credible and reliable than the first and second defendants and witness. I accept his version of how the incident occurred on a balance of probability.”
Martin said that Llewellyn was, on December 3, 1994, assaulted and beaten by the cops “without probable cause” and was shot in the back while running away.
Llewellyn testified during the March 2007 trial that while he was running he heard Grant saying, “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! Him no have nothing.”
But attorneys for the State told the trial that Smith had fired in self-defence. It was posited that Llewellyn had picked up Grant’s gun which fell during a scuffle and squeezed the trigger.
The police claimed that they had gone to apprehend Llewellyn for allegedly breaking into a home.
Smith said that Llewellyn was running and pointing the gun at them, when he fired three times.
However, Dr Francis Lindo, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, said in a medical report dated November 29, 2006 that Llewellyn was shot in the buttocks and that in his opinion the shooter must have been behind him. The bullet rested at Llewellyn’s spine, the doctor said.
Llewellyn, following the incident, had a right below-the-knee amputation, which is connected to the shooting, the doctor said.
Justice Gayle said in his finding yesterday that Llewellyn was sleeping at his home when he was awakened by a kick from the police. He also found that the cop’s gun in fact fell but that Llewellyn kicked it away.
“I find as a fact that the complainant did not pick up the gun and pointed the gun at the police. I find that the police was not acting in self-defence.
“I am satisfied on a preponderance of the probabilities that the defendants acted without reasonable and probable cause which would render them liable to the claimant in damages,” Gayle wrote.
Llewellyn was represented by attorney Leonard Green.