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Another Police Shooting Victim Compensated by Courts

THE national treasury continues to be heavily taxed, as victims of police shootings successfully take to the courts, seeking justice for injuries sustained through indiscriminate gunplay by police officers.

One week after the High Court (Civil) awarded a Ciceron resident upwards of $344,950 for damages sustained in a police shooting that occurred 11 years ago, the court, a few days later, released another similar judgement — this time in favour of FrancilliaSeverin, who was shot by police in October 2007 while attending to her business at the Streams of Power Tabernacle Church at Water Works Road.

According to court documents, Severin alleged that on 7th October 2007, she suffered personal injuries to her ankle due to the negligence of a police officer who without probable cause or good reason caused her to be injured by shooting her in her ankle.

By way of relief, she sought special damages in the sum of $820, general damages, interest, costs, and further or other relief.

High Court Judge Rosalyn E. Wilkinson awarded Severin $45,000 in general damages, $820 in special damages, special damages for loss of income up to trial $38,840 and $25,000 for loss of future income – a total of $109,660.

The judge also awarded interest on those sums at the rate of 6 percent with interest on general damages being from date of service of the claim and on other awards from date of judgment until payment in full.

Andre Halls was the first to seek a monetary compensation from the courts after he was shot by police in August 2007 at his home in Ciceron sustaining injuries to his right leg.

Now Severin, just two months after Halls was shot by police, herself became a victim of what some at the scene said was reckless police shooting.

It all happened that day, when Severin, after noon that Sunday, volunteered for after-service church activities, something she enjoys every Sunday.

Court papers claimed that on that day, Severin was at the head of a line for feeding the children. She and the children were singing the children’s song “Green plates and whites plates” when at some point she saw people running in the church yard shouting “Gun shots!”

Court papers affirmed that Severin was about to take steps to ensure the children’s safety when she saw a child in the line acting hysterically and heard the children screaming. She then heard a loud sound and felt a sharp pain to her right ankle.

She looked at her right leg and saw blood gushing from it. She was shocked and frightened. She started screaming and shouting “My leg, my leg!”

It was said that Severin’s daughter, who was also in the church yard, rushed to her aid.

Her daughter and another lady helped her to the church steps. They tried to stop the bleeding.

Severin saw people who, according to her, were running for their lives and she also saw Police Officers in SSU uniform.

She did not know who shot her at the time, but none of the Police Officers came to her aid.

The court documents affirmed that Severin said that she was in excruciating pain, but nevertheless inquired about the children.

She learnt that the child who was acting hysterically and another lady were also shot.

The three of them — Ms. Severin, the hysterical child and the other lady who had also been shot — were all sitting on the church steps when one of the Police Officers in SSU uniform came around to them and said “Sorry, sorry!”

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

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