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Judicial CP - March 2005

Corpun file 15490

Trinidad Express, Port of Spain, 16 March 2005

Rapist sues over licks with 'cat'

By Darren Bahaw

A CONVICTED rapist who was whipped with the cat-o'-nine tails instead of the birch has sued the State claiming a breach of his constitutional rights.

Timothy Wyse, 52, who is currently serving a 20-year jail term, for rape, serious indecency and robbery, claims the prison authorities ignored him when he told them that the Appeal Court had varied his sentence, removing from the original sentence 15 strokes with the "cat" and replacing it with 15 strokes with the birch.

In the motion, which was filed at the Port of Spain Civil Registry on Monday, Wyse is seeking an order that he be given regular medical and psychological treatment for the injuries he suffered as a result of the whipping.

He is also asking the High Court to declare that the strokes with the "cat" was unconstitutional and unlawful and it constituted a breach of his fundamental human rights.

Attorneys Dana Seetahal and Michelle Solomon are representing Wyse in the motion.

On January 27, 1999, Wyse was convicted of rape, two counts of serious indecency, and one count of robbery with aggravation. On the first count he was sentenced to 15 years hard labour with 15 strokes with the cat-o'-nine, five years hard labour (to follow the 15 years) on the second count, 15 years hard labour on the third count and ten years hard labour on the fourth count by Justice Herbert Volney.

The Appeal Court, on May 18, 2001, dismissed the prisoner's appeal but varied the sentence, removing the punishment by the cat-o'-nine and replacing it with 15 strokes with the birch.

On November 3, 2001, Wyse was taken to Carrerra Prison where he was informed that he was going to be flogged in compliance to the order of Volney.

He claimed he protested and informed a senior prison officer about the Appeal Court variation and asked for the opportunity to produce the Appeal Court judgment but his pleas were ignored.

Instead, Wyse claims that he was strapped to a device called the "Merry Sandy", which is used to restrain prisoners when they are being flogged.

He said his head was fitted into a brace and his arms were outstretched on either side and his legs were buckled in place on the device.

The prisoner claims that he heard prison officers betting on whether or not he would scream before he received the first set of lashes.

"These lashes hit me along my back; my spinal cord; my shoulders; the corner of my chest and on my arms," he states in court documents.

Wyse claims he broke out into a cold sweat, gasped for breath and excreted on himself as the whippings progressed. In all, he said, he received 135 welts across his body.

No date has yet been set for the hearing of the lawsuit.

blob Follow-up: 27 September 2006 - State must pay rapist for 'cat-o'-nine' beating

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