May 20, 2013 News Comments Off on Police refuse alibi statements for accused cop killer
– suspect allegedly subjected to “electric shock”
By Latoya Giles
Relatives of Chaka Chase, who police say shot and killed Corporal Romain Cleto last month, yesterday staged a protest outside the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department, Eve Leary.
The relatives are alleging that Chase was tortured into admitting that he committed the crime. Several Police sources yesterday said that Chase is to be charged today with the cop’s murder.
About nine persons, including a police officer, have come forward and are willing to give statements attesting to the fact that Chase was with them and was nowhere close to the shooting scene on April 27 . Attorney at law Nigel Hughes, who has been retained by the family, told a press conference in front of the CID yesterday afternoon, that he along with relatives visited Chase at the Diamond Police Station. Hughes said that it became apparent after interviewing him, that Chase had a full proof alibi.
The lawyer said that since his client could not come out of the holding cell he had to go to him. Hughes said that he was told by Chase that had been tortured on Thursday while at CID by several police officers. He said that Chase told him that he was subjected to “electric shock”, then given a liquid substance to drink. The lawyer said that Chase related that soon after that, he became ill, defecated and fell in a semi-conscious state.
Minutes later, Chase was given a statement which he signed.
The Attorney said that he could not get to see if there were any visible marks on Chase’s body since the cell was dark.
Further, Hughes said that while at the Diamond Police Station, he inquired from the Officer in Charge whether any of witnesses could give their statement. Hughes said that he was advised to go to the Eve Leary Headquarters to give the statement. However when the lawyer and the witnesses arrived at Eve Leary yesterday afternoon, ranks there said that no one was there to take the statement and that they should return today.
According to Hughes, he has spoken to one of the witnesses who said that Chase was with her at the time of the shooting. He said that the witness was the person who took him to the East Ruimveldt Outpost after he had received a message from a police officer that his name was being called in connection with the shooting of the policeman.
Hughes said that his particular concern was that someone is going to be charged today with murder, when there are nine persons, including a police officer, who confirmed that he was somewhere else. He said that the owner of the drinking establishment happens to be the brother of a senior police officer, who testified in the Linden Commission of Inquiry. The owner, according to the lawyer, has expressed his displeasure about the matter.
Hughes noted that it would be a grave miscarriage of justice, if Chase was charged for murder
Hughes said that the Guyana Police Force seems to be rushing to another form of erroneous judgment, in which they are bringing to court a young man who will be charged with murder without even beginning to conduct even the most rudimentary elements of investigation.
He said that he understands that no attempt was made to speak to any of the eyewitnesses. He further noted that he had read in the press that the person who allegedly committed the act was someone of either Portuguese or East Indian decent. His client, Chaka Chase, is Rastafarian and of African descent. “It seems to be another example where a young urban citizen is charged for an offence where there is an inadequate investigation,” Hughes stated. The lawyer maintained that it was not too late for the police to take the statements from the eyewitnesses.
The lawyer said that he has not ruled out the route in which former Police Commissioner Henry Greene took, but noted that he was only retained on Sunday and did not have the same advantages which Greene’s lawyers had. Hughes said that they will certainly look at this avenue. Greene had moved to the High Court and blocked rape charges from being instituted.
Police on Friday said that they had positively identified one of the persons responsible for the shooting to death of Police Corporal Romain Cleto. According to investigators, the case against Chase grew intensely stronger over the last days.
Chase, who hails from East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, had gone to the police when he learnt that he was among the suspects. The police released him soon after because there was no evidence to hold him. However the suspect was rearrested on Thursday last. Investigators have said that an eyewitness had placed the suspect at the scene.
There are reports in other sections of the media of a woman claiming that she was pressured by the police to implicate Chase in the matter.
The woman who hails from the Rosemary Lane area (Tiger Bay) has reportedly gone into hiding.
Cleto was gunned down by the occupants of a suspicious car at the busy intersection of Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic, in the full view of persons waiting for transportation.
The cop was approaching the vehicle on foot when one of the occupants opened fire with what is believed to be an AK-47 assault rifle and a nine-millimeter handgun. Corporal Cleto was buried with full military honours.
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