2 Apr 2004

European court awards damages to New Caledonian man beaten by police in Noumea

7:14 am on 2 April 2004

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered the French government to pay 18,500 US dollars in damages to a young man who was beaten by New Caledonian police.

France was also ordered to pay more than 12,000dollars in legal costs to Giovanni Rivas who needed emergency surgery after he was beaten up in a Noumea police station during an investigation into a burglary.

A policeman was convicted of assault but the verdict was overturned by a court of appeal which accepted his plea that he had acted in selfdefence.

The Human Rights Court noted that at the time of of the beating Rivas was 17 years old, 1.6 metres or five feet five inches tall and weighed 50 kilos.

It also noted that while Rivas was known to the police, it was not on the grounds of violent behaviour, wheras the police man was known to be violent.