27 April, 2010


Person arrested not bearing the same name as contained in the warrant.  We are looking at issues that can arise on arresting someone and depriving them of their liberty.  Officers have to be very careful when arresting someone, even with the protection of a warrant.  There are hidden hazards.  
            So, where a constable arrests the wrong person, that is, a person other than the one named in the warrant, he may be liable in tort for wrongful arrest or false imprisonment.  It is important that the warrant correctly name the person to be arrested.  This is illustrated by the 2002 Trinidadian case of Maharaj v A-G.  The warrant named the plaintiff as “Mary”, when her correct name was Kamaldaye Maharaj.  The arresting constables knew her as Mary.  There was no doubt that she was the person for whom the warrants were intended, and that she was well aware of that fact.  Nevertheless, the court held that the constables had no defence to an action for false imprisonment brought by Kamaldaye after the police case against her had been thrown out.  The warrants failed, as the law required, to correctly name the plaintiff.  In the circumstances, the arrest of the plaintiff ‘Kamaldaye’ was not in obedience to the warrant, which was for a ‘Mary’.
            We may say that can never happen in Anguilla where everybody knows everybody else.  That may have been true 30 years ago.  I am not so sure it still is.

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