Man awarded over $82,000 for police assault two years ago

Man awarded over $82,000 for police assault two years ago

Pedro Morley had a gun held to his head and his teeth punched out

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A man who was assaulted by a police constable and held at gunpoint in 2019 has been awarded over $82,000 in damages.

According to court documents, Pedro Morley and a woman were speaking outside of the downtown nightclub Enve on October 5, 2019, when police constable Courtney Hall approached them and asked whether Morley knew the woman and if they were speaking about him (Hall).

Hall removed a firearm from his waist “unprovoked” and pointed it in Morley’s direction.

He then identified himself as a police officer, but evidence indicated he was not on duty at the time, nor was he was carrying out any official police function.

Morley immediately left the club, but while traveling south on East Street, near Big One Shoe store, he was stopped by a marked police vehicle driven by uniformed police officers, who ordered him and his passenger to exit the vehicle.

As he exited, Hall arrived in a private vehicle and darted toward Morley, punching him twice in the moth, which resulted in Morley’s teeth becoming loose.

As a result of the incident, eight of Morley’s teeth were damaged.

He required an eight-unit bridge to repair the damage at a cost of just under $10,000.

When Hall appeared before the police tribunal, he admitted to the acts he was accused of.

The defendant did not cross-examine Morley at the tribunal or call any witness to defend against the claims, leading the judge to accept the plaintiff’s version of the events.

In his ruling, Assistant Registrar Renaldo Toote awarded Morley $45,000 in damages for assault and battery, loss of his teeth and pain and suffering; $5,000 for exemplary damages; $5,000 for aggravated damages; and $18,000 for legal cost.

In assessing damages, the judge noted that as difficult as it may be, courts should endeavor to give the best estimate of appropriate compensation for personal injuries in The Bahamas based on awards made in this jurisdiction as opposed to others, which should be relied upon “only when necessary”.

He referenced cases including Kevin Renaldo Collie versus the attorney general in 2016, where Collie was awarded $35,000 for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment lasting 32 hours; Gilford Lloyd versus Chief Superintendent Cunningham, where Lloyd was awarded $30,000 after the officer placed a shotgun to his head when police mistakenly conducted a search for contraband on the wrong house and Lloyd had to stand in handcuffs in front of his neighbors for 30 minutes; and Shawn Scott versus the attorney general, where Scott was awarded $315,000 after being left a paraplegic following an encounter with the police.

The Supreme Court noted that while Morley was never arrested or detained, the case entitled him to constitutional damages.

“When the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s motto, ‘Creating safer communities’, actually does right by the oppressed, only then will it truly exist,” read the ruling.

“In a just and civil society, there is a legitimate expectation that the police would act fair at all times.

“The abiding respect for human dignity and the denigration of one’s fundamental rights cannot coexist in harmony.

“It is fundamentally important that the justice system sustain the moral fiber of a just and equitable society.

“The subtle escalation of divisive bigotry, when exhibited by the armed forces, weakens and destabilizes our democracy.

“A police officer must represent security, temperance, gallantry and respect; not fear, brutality and oppression.

“As mentioned before, the stability of justice is eroded whenever a person’s liberties are violated by those who are sworn to protect and preserve human rights in a civil society.”

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.


The police officers involved in the incident should be made to pay the award personally. If it starts to cost them money perhaps things will start to change.

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