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Barry loses dog bite case

Sunday, August 13, 2017
A 2009 photograph of police dog Tango in action during a demonstration at a graduation for members of the Canine Unit at Tucker Valley, Chaguaramas.

One month after being released from prison for an alleged attempt to assassinate former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Bryan “Soldier Barry” Barrington was bitten on his penis by a police dog during a search of his Oropouche home. He sued the State as a result of the injury caused by the bite.

However, High Court judge Margaret Mohammed has now dismissed Barrington’s case, stating he “caused his own injury” because of his behaviour. Barrington will have to pay costs to the State, Mohammed has also ruled.

On November 21, 2011, Barrington was detained in connection with an alleged plot to kill Persad-Bissessar, then attorney general Anand Ramlogan and two other members of the People’s Partnership cabinet. He was eventually released without charge on December 5, 2011.

On January 26, 2012, around 6.15 am police executed a search warrant of Barrington’s Partap Trace, Oropouche home. Ten officers from the San Fernando Police Station, including from the Canine Branch with two police dogs, entered his home in search of guns and ammunition.

In his lawsuit, Barrington claimed during the search the officers arrested him and handcuffed him behind his back. Barrington said he was only dressed in boxer shorts and one of the dogs named Tango was released and “allowed to roam freely throughout the house”.

“And while Tango was not restrained he bit (Barrington) on his penis. Therefore it took the police handler approximately three minutes to pry Tango’s jaw from (Barrington’s) penis and to restrain it,” Barrington’s lawsuit stated.

Barrington claimed the police dog handler was negligent. As a result of the bite Barrington said he suffered a laceration to his penis. He received treatment at the San Fernando General Hospital on the day of the incident and claimed that for approximately nine months afterwards he was unable to have sexual intercourse and had severe and continuous pain because the wounds reopened whenever his penis became erect. He claimed he was unable to manage his business, which he said made approximately $4,000 a day every weekend, then closed it down permanently six months after the bite.

The State denied Barrington’s claims of negligence and said his injuries were caused by his own negligence. Tango’s handler, PC Rasheed Mohammed, claimed he specifically warned Barrington and his wife Nadia Baboolal that Tango “had been trained to secure its handler” and that they should “not approach or make any aggressive or sudden actions toward him”, since Tango would view this as a sign of aggression and react.

As the search continued the officers allegedly found some marijuana inside the house and Barrington was handcuffed. The police then began a search of Barrington’s bedroom. Barrington continued acting in a “loud aggressive manner and hurled abuses” the State claimed. During the completion of the search by PC Mohammed and Tango, Barrington advanced toward the officer in an irate manner and Tango gripped him in the crotch. Mohammed immediately jerked on Tango’s correction collar and commanded him to let go, the State claimed. Tango released its grip of Barrington after approximately 30-40 seconds and he was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital for attention.

Justice Mohammed ruled that Barrington failed to take “reasonable care” and as such caused his own injury by failing to heed the warnings from PCs Mohammed and Faraz Kalloo.

This is not the first time Tango, a Belgian Malinois, has gotten himself in trouble. On March 11, 2011, Steve McDonald, 53, from Dow Village, California, lodged a complaint with the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) claiming he was severely bitten by Tango while handcuffed on the ground in police custody. McDonald said that incident occurred on March 9, 2011.

Earlier this year, the State was ordered to pay more than $172,000 to Barrington with respect to the alleged plot to kill Persad-Bissessar and members of her cabinet. He was awarded damages in the amount of $141,121.49 with interest from October 28, 2015, as a result of his lawful imprisonment for 13 days and $30,962 for costs in that matter.

Barrington was represented by attorneys Abdal Ashraph-Baksh and Zeik Ashraph, while Tamara Toolsie and Ronnelle Hinds instructed by Kadine Matthew represented the State.


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