May 24, 2013 News
By Latoya Giles
In what could possibly develop into one of the most embarrassing cases for the Police in recent times, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, has recommended that the murder charge against Shaka Chase be withdrawn. The man was freed yesterday.
Chase was charged on Monday for the April 27 murder of Police Corporal Romain Cleto, who was brazenly gunned down at the intersection of Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic by occupants of a suspicious car which he had approached. The men reportedly opened fire with what is believed to be an AK-47
assault rifle and a nine-millimetre handgun. Cleto was at the time the senior rank on a mobile patrol which had been trailing the vehicle. He was buried with full military honours.
Yesterday, when the matter was called before Chief Magistrate Priya Beharry, the prosecution informed the court that the DPP had advised that the matter against Shaka Chase be withdrawn.
Magistrate Beharry immediately informed Chase that he was a free man. Chase quickly bolted from the courtroom to meet anxious relatives downstairs who had been protesting for his release. A tearful Chase yesterday told Kaieteur News that he was truly happy that the DPP had made the recommendation. He described the entire ordeal as “horrific” stating that many people would never understand what it truly feels like to be “victimized”. Chase said that he was thankful for the many persons who prayed for him.
Attorney at law James Bond told Kaieteur News that he truly believes that justice has been served. Bond said that the entire scenario is a wakeup call for the police to conduct proper investigations in the future.
Bond further stated that the murder charge against Chase was based solely on a confession statement and there was no way that sort of evidence could stand up in court taking into account the man’s complaints about being beaten and tortured into making the same statement.
Bond yesterday stated that the time has come for complaints about torture and beating of suspects while in police custody to be taken seriously. He said that it was very important for lawyers to submit whatever evidence they have in that regard.
Chase was charged on Monday last amidst heavy controversy that the police had done a “sloppy” investigation.
The police had stated that gunpowder residue was found on Chase’s hands after it was swabbed by the Police. However Chase’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes, questioned the truth behind that statement. Hughes had stated that he could not understand why the Police would then release the man if they had found gunpowder residue on his hands when he was swabbed on the same night of the murder after he turned himself in.
Hughes had stated that the police had rushed to charge Chase without even beginning to conduct even the most rudimentary elements of investigation.
Kaieteur News understands that none of the surviving ranks had recognized Chase as the suspect. This publication was reliably informed that the ranks had maintained that the shooter was someone who was either East Indian or of Mixed race. Chase is of African descent with long “dread locks”. This was one of the main contributing factors to the withdrawal of the charge, according to a source.
Meanwhile this newspaper was told that Regan Rodrigues was up to press time still in police custody. Rodrigues, said to be another suspect, was picked up on Monday afternoon. This newspaper was told by police sources that the surviving ranks picked him out on an identification parade yesterday. The file has since been dispatched to the DPP’s office for legal advice.
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