Jailed businessman suing Prison, Police chiefs over wrongful arrest
A well-known fly fishing guide and businessman is seeking compensation for his wrongful arrest and detention.
Prescott Smith, owner of Stafford Creek Lodge, contracted Covid-19 during his imprisonment, a lawsuit alleges.
Smith claims that news of his arrest hurt his business and reputation as people falsely assumed he was a criminal.
Smith’s arrest at his lodge on September 21, 2021 stemmed from a civil suit.
Colin and Maria Degregory had sued Smith after a land sale fell through.
The Degregorys initiated contempt proceedings against Smith in his absence, and in February 2021, Justice Diane Stewart ordered that he would be jailed for 14 days if he didn’t pay $32,230 in costs.
The order was suspended for 30 days to give Smith a chance to pay but according to the lawsuit, Smith first learned about the order to pay the money when he was arrested.
The arresting officers didn’t have the warrant in their possession either. As a result, Smith was detained at Central Police Station until it was produced.
The warrant, according to the suit, was not sealed, and Smith alleges that the Degregorys conspired with police to remove the unsealed warrant from the court’s file.
Smith was taken to the prison on the afternoon of September 22, where he was held in a cell with five others.
Justice Loren Klein suspended the warrant and ordered Smith’s immediate release on September 24 but Smith remained in custody for 68 hours after the judge ordered his immediate release.
Shortly after the incident, National Security Minister Wayne Munroe announced that Prison Commissioner Charles Murphy had been placed on administrative leave for failing to follow the court’s order to release Smith.
Smith is suing Murphy, Police Commissioner Paul Rolle, Superintendent Marcus Sands, Corporal 3019 Monell Sweeting, the DeGregorys and the Attorney General.
Attorney Keod Smith is Smith’s lawyer.