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High Court Judge described Steve Astaphan as “not a witness of truth” and dismissed his civil lawsuit

High Court Judge Colin Williams has dismissed in its totality a civil claim brought about by Steve Astaphan against Police Officer Delroy Julian and the Attorney General (AG) of Dominica in which Astaphan claims false imprisonment and trespass on the property among other claims.

The matter involves a 2020 incident that started at Morne Daniel near the home of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and then escalated on the E.O LeBlanc High Way near S Mart.

The police were called and Astaphan left the area but was approached and stopped by the police near S Mart on the E.O LeBlanc Highway. Having been stopped by the police he then removed his clothing staying only with his boxers on and asked a Mandela Eli to record the proceedings.

A recording of the video about one minute showed a plainclothes police officer throwing his foot at Astaphan in an attempt to trip him but he did not fall.

Astaphan, through his lawyer Lisa Defreitas, wrote to the police and the AG seeking an apology for what she described as “embarrassed and humiliated on the public Highway, false imprisonment and trespass on property with authorization” and then took the matter to court not having received a response.

He had also gone to the hospital after his release from police custody on the evening of August 15, 2020, and the following day August 16, 2020, to a private doctor.

During the trial, he told the court that he was punched five times by the police who also kicked him but according to Justice Williams, all the witnesses gave different evidence and not one suggested or said that Astaphan was punched by the police.

“He was examined by Dr. Meade-Thomas who was an expert witness and testified that he was “in pain and distress” and had a 3cm (superficial) laceration, she sent him to do an X-ray which revealed no broken bones. He was given no medication, no follow-up or sick leave,” the Judge posited.

Astaphan, the Judge said “authored the public spectacular by parading in his underwear” and questioned, ‘Why did he (Astaphan) stripe off and who asked him to do so.”

Elie had also testified that the police had taken her cell phone and deleted the video however it was reinstalled by one “Evans Charles” and then sent to Astaphan.

“He wanted that exhibition, the police invited him to come to Police Headquarters, he accepted, so he was not falsely detained or imprisoned by the police as he claims,” the Judge said,

Justice Williams stated that the actions of the police were “sensible and reasonable” and there were no “unlawful detention or imprisonment.”   

“The evidence shows that he (Astaphan) consented to go to Police Headquarters, they (the police) had a legitimate reason to ask him given his display, no one touched him, he was never arrested, it was a public spectacle,” he said.

In dealing with the issue of trespass of property, the Judge stated that Astaphan’s vehicle was blocking the road and was an obstruction so the decision of the police to move and secure it at Police Headquarters was “sensible and reasonable.”

Astaphan did not impress him as “a witness of truth” given that his narrative of what happened outside the house of the Prime Minister at Morne Daniel on the day in question differs from all other witnesses.

On the issue of “assault and battery” by police officer Delroy Julian, the judge labels Astaphan as the aggressor and said that Officer Julian made an effort to bring things under control by swinging his leg and that contact with Astaphan was “minimal.”

“There was contact but it was minimal…his six (6) weeks unable to walk was a grandeur, no kick was directed at his sheen and his witnesses do not support his complaint of he being punched, his evidence is not believable and is not a witness of truth, the other witnesses are more credible,” the judge stated.

He also labeled Corporal Melissa Esprit who was in charge of the police command unit as “a creditable and honest witness.

Justice Williams then stated that Astaphan had “failed to prove his case and they were all dismissed and awarded the cost of $5,000.00 to the respondent that Astaphan must pay.      

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1 COMMENT

  1. So he come, huh? This pic and the associated story must be a deepest low for Steve and his family because it will forever exists, long after we are all gone, as a record of his low integrity. From now on, he is officially known as king liar and will never be taken seriously in the Courts. What a pathetic embarrassment to his family, especially to his parents, who are very honorable and widely respected people.

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