Illegal Arrest/Detention: Court Orders DSS, Perm Sec to Pay N3m Damages to Teenager on Trial
Julius Osahon in Yenagoa
For illegally arresting and detaining in prison for 13 days without trial, a Bayelsa State High Court in Yenagoa has awarded N3 million in damages to a teenage girl facing trial for allegedly circulating nude video of a retired Permanent Secretary in the state.
The girl (name withheld) had through her counsel, Andrew Arthur, sued the retired permanent secretary and the Department of State Security (DSS) for her arrest and detention for 13 days without trial.
According to the March 31 judgement sighted yesterday, Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro awarded the damage and additional N3, 000 as costs for breach
of her fundamental human rights.
The decision of the court stated that the retired Permanent Secretary, Dr. Walto Liverpool, would pay N1 million, while the DSS would pay additional N 2 million to the teenager as damages.
Umukoro noted that while Liverpool had submitted a petition against the teenager to the police who arrested her and later granted her bail, the permanent secretary also submitted the same petition to the DSS for the same offence.
He, therefore, ruled that using multiple security agencies to detain the teenager amounted to intimidation and high-handedness which breached her fundamental human rights.
According to the Judge, “In the final analysis, the applicant (teenager) has made out a case of infringement of her constitutional rights to personal liberty, dignity and freedom of movement between October 5 and 8, 2021, and of October 13, 2021, when she was arrested and detained without charge or a court order by the third respondent (DSS).
“The applicant has equally shown that her remand was without probable cause shown by the third respondent, and therefore, it’s irregular, null and void and violation of Section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Bayelsa 2019.”
The DSS had on October 18, 2021, arraigned a teenage girl before the Federal High Court in Yenagoa, where she is being tried on a one-count charge of cyber-stalking.
According to the prosecution, the defendant allegedly engaged in cyber-stalking by circulating the retiree’s nude video on a WhatsApp group after she tried to blackmail him into paying her N15 million.
The teenager allegedly shot the video after ‘sexual intercourse’ with the retired permanent secretary in a hotel in Yenagoa in August 2021.
The trial of the teenager is currently ongoing, while the DSS has headed to the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt to challenge the decision of the Bayelsa State High Court on the fundamental human rights enforcement of the teenager.