Feb 28, 2013 News Comments Off on President to receive COI report today
President Donald Ramotar is scheduled to receive a completed report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Linden shooting. Three people were shot to death ostensibly by the police last July.
The report would be handed over at 10:00 hours today by members of the Commission which is headed by Jamaican Justice Lensley Wolfe O.J. Other Commissioners are Mr. K.D. Knight S.C; Trinidadian jurist Ms. Dana Seetahal S.C; Guyana’s former Court of Appeal Judge, Claudette Singh, CCH and former Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Kennard.
The report is expected to encompass the testimonies of victims with regards to the compensation aspect of the inquiry. It is also expected that the report would highlight changes and recommendations pertaining to the Police Force and its operations as ranks of the state agency. In addition to killing three the police were also accused of injuring several others during protest action against the hike in electricity rates in the Mining Town.
The Commissioners were sworn in to hear the facts relating to the shooting incidents and the procedures by which the Police Force acted and at the same time, assess the circumstances under which the shooting took place.
Lawyer for the Guyana Police Force, Peter Hugh, said at the Commission of Inquiry, that the state was not responsible for compensation to any of the Linden protesters who were injured or killed on July 18, since he argued that there is no evidence to prove that the lawmen shot at the group.
The lawyers defended that the evidence presented is purely circumstantial, and ballistics tests proved that the protesters were killed and injured with a caliber of ammunition that is not used by police.
He added that police were most times following standard operating procedures and when they didn’t it can be justified, taking into consideration the protesters’ hostile behaviour towards them. Apart from that, the lawyers said the police had a duty to disperse the gathering and the leaders of the Linden protest should be held responsible for condoning the illegal act.
However, Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes, who represented the families of the deceased,( Lyndon Lewis, Ron Sommerset and Shemroy Bouyea), said that there is compelling evidence to prove that the police shot the three men and injured about 20 other Lindeners. He added that the deceased and injured persons were all shot with 00 buckshot pellets.
The lawyer had stated that the pellets could only have been discharged from a shotgun and not a handgun or rifle. Hughes said that that eliminated the possibility of either a concealed weapon or sniper being present.
Hughes said also that there were around several hundred persons present at the time of the shooting and the only persons who were seen with shotguns were three police officers.
He said that a shotgun is at least three feet in length and if it were in the possession of anyone other than the police ranks, it would have been clearly visible at the time of the shooting.
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