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Case details

Douglas Ngumi (Appellant) v The Attorney General of The Bahamas and 3 others (Respondents) (Bahamas)

Case ID: JCPC 2022/0036

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Case summary

Issue

Were the Respondents lawfully entitled to detain the Appellant on the basis that they were arranging his deportation, and, if so, was 3 month a reasonable period? Did the Court of Appeal err in the assessment of damages and award of interest? Did the Court of Appeal err in its costs award?

Facts

The Appellant is a citizen of Kenya who was arrested by Bahamian immigration officials on 12 January 2011. He was held in a detention centre for approximately 6 years and 7 months. The Appellant brought claims for, amongst other matters, damages for false imprisonment, assaults and batteries, breach of constitutional rights.

The first instance judge held that the Appellant had been unlawfully detained for 6 years 4 months and 4 days. After the Appellant’s arrest he could only have been lawfully detained for 48 hours. The Appellant was, however, lawfully detained for 3 months after June 2013, when the Appellant pled guilty to a charge of possession of dangerous drugs, and a Magistrate recommended deportation. The judge also made findings about the conditions in which the Appellant was held and awarded $641,950 in damages. The Court of Appeal agreed with the first instance judge that a period of 3 months could be deducted from the period of unlawful detention. The Court of Appeal found that in some respects the trial judge had erred in the assessment of damages, and increased the award to $750,950, plus additional interest.

The Appellant in this appeal denies that he was lawfully detained for 3 months. The Appellant further contends that the Court of Appeal made errors of principle in calculating the proper award of damages, and, in any event, the award made by the Court of Appeal is manifestly too low.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Douglas Ngumi

Respondent(s)

The Attorney General of The Bahamas and 3 others

Appeal

Justices

Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lord Richards, Dame Ingrid Simler

Hearing start date

7 February 2023

Hearing finish date

7 February 2023