Undisclosed payouts to pepper-spray victims

  • Remember when: a clash between police and demonstrators outside the House of Assembly on December 2, 2016 (File photograph)

    Remember when: a clash between police and demonstrators outside the House of Assembly on December 2, 2016 (File photograph)

Demonstrators hit by pepper spray in a clash with police at a protest outside Parliament over the new airport terminal building have been paid a settlement to avert further legal action.

The payment, reported last night on ZBM News, was said to avoid a costly judicial review into the Police Complaints Authority, which had investigated the confrontation with police that took place on December 2, 2016.

In August 2017, the PCA’s six-man team reported no misconduct on the part of individual officers, who were sent to remove demonstrators blocking the entrance to the House of Assembly.

Protesters prevented MPs from entering Parliament to stop that day’s debate on controversial legislation to set up a public-private partnership with a Canadian corporation to build and run a new airport terminal.

The airport proposal by the former One Bermuda Alliance government was criticised by the Progressive Labour Party as well as activist groups such as the People’s Campaign.

Several officers deployed to clear the gates of Sessions House on Church Street pepper-sprayed demonstrators, resulting in 26 complaints against police.

Fourteen officers were said to have been assaulted during the clash.

While the PCA later criticised senior police officers for the tactics used on the day, the group did not blame individual officers.

The complainants later called for a judicial review, which was postponed last year.

Applicants were not identified in the Supreme Court, and sources told The Royal Gazette in May 2018 that the subsequent retirement of “key players” was likely to complicate a review.

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said last night that he could not comment on the matter.

A ministry statement said an “amicable conclusion” had been reached with applicants and that the settlement would avoid the cost of a lengthy court hearing.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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