The officer who arrested and charged Former Gender Affairs Minister Dean Jonas will be sued for what Jonas’s attorney Wendel Robinson said were several breaches of the law including unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, and breach of a person’s constitutional rights.
The Attorney General’s office and Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney will also face legal action.
Robinson, the lead attorney on Jonas’s team said after viewing footage from the bodycam, he is convinced that the police acted unlawfully.
“I looked at the footage and I think it’s regrettable because clearly, the police acted unlawfully. If a private citizen allows the police to enter his premises but at any given time, the citizen decides he no longer welcomes the police and asks them to leave, without any warrant the police has to leave,” Robinson said.
In the video shared by thousands of people, Jonas is seen walking toward a police car as it pulls into his driveway.
Jonas greeted the officer who then explained why he was at Jonas’s home. It had to do with a legal matter concerning the custody of Jonas’s son, with another woman other than his wife.
Jonas then asked the officer to leave. He could be seen pleading with the officers, to get off his property.
After a verbal argument that lasted over one minute, a physical tussle ensued between Jonas and the officer who identified himself as Corporal Jason Joseph. Jonas was later arrested and charged.
“I am surprised that police officers of 20 years or more, do not know something as basic as this. This has happened repeatedly before and the police have faced sanctions about this in the past,” Robinson said in an interview with State Media last night.
The matter goes before the courts on Monday and Robinson said, having regard to the footage, there is nothing that will surprise him in the disclosure of the police statements.
“I am ready to proceed. I would hope that the police prosecution does the honorable thing. If they see there is no reasonable prospect for conviction, they should do the honorable thing and don’t waste the court’s time,” he said.
Robinson said he has already written to the Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney, “outlining the unlawful and unnecessary arrest and asked that disciplinary action be taken against the officers involved,” Robinson said.
He said the action of the police is clearly discreditable and clearly in breach of another disciplinary infraction
“Citizens should not be subjected to unlawful arrests,” Robinson added.
Jonas has said that during the encounter, Corporal Joseph, demanded that he release his child to him, without any prior notice or an order from the court.
Jonas said when questioned about the legal authority under which he should comply with the officer’s demands, he was not presented with any such document.
According to Jonas, he considered the officer’s demand to be an attack on his family and refused to comply with the instructions given, which he deemed unlawful.
He said despite repeatedly and loudly instructing the officers to leave his private premises, he was forcibly arrested for protecting the welfare of his family.
Jonas says he believes that this kind of conduct, which resulted in him sustaining various injuries at the hands of the police is reflective of societal attitudes towards fathers and their custodial rights, who are often not given the same level of legal protection as mothers.
Right move that police must be made an example for the force to follow
But plenty of Antiguan people that the any thing the police in this country do is right. And it’s a long long time police are infringing on people democratic rights,And nothing for it. People have to stand up for their rights and start sueing the police and the police force. The amount of unlawful arrest these police officers are involved in it is a shame and disgrace. The AG and the commissioner all know about this and they pretend it’s not happening. This country is devided into two red and blue, And there is where alot of hatred come’s in.
Some thing so basic does not resonate with ignorance it’s time to bring back the program facilitated by the Attorney General The public and the law just paraphrasing where citizens can know their rights so often there are classes with police and citizens with simple matters that can easily be resolved I think Mr Jonas with his big heart should spare the Police of this kind of embarrassment and accept an apology and let peace reign .
Let’s see how the court will handle this, because police are trained to do their job well…