By Sunita Samaroo
It’s not unusual to see policemen in court-but many lawmen have been going recently as the accused rather than to testify against prisoners.
Kaieteur News has managed to compile matters engaging the court’s attention involving law enforcement officers who have been charged with offences ranging from rape, human trafficking, attempt to pervert the course of justice, inflicting grievous bodily harm and murder.
Also included in the count are officers who were jailed or exonerated for any wrong-doing.
In the High Court, Lance Corporal, Sherwin Smith is facing trial before Justice Brassington Reynolds for the September 15, 2011 murder of drug counselor, Ralph Turpin.
The killing occurred at a Stabroek Market food stand when Turpin allegedly went to the assistance of a woman who was being physically assaulted by a man. Smith is said to have shot the man twice in his head during a confrontation.
His trial began on November 12, last.
Constable Quancy John, who was seconded to the Wales Police Station, faced a murder indictment.
That happened after schoolboy Kelvin Fraser was shot to death on June 7, 2010, when police invaded the Patentia Secondary School to confront the alleged dope smokers and sellers who were said to be interfering with the female teachers of that secondary school.
John had claimed that the youth was accidentally shot during a scuffle, but the cop was subsequently interdicted and charged with murder.
He went on trial at the High Court before Justice Franklyn Holder, but was acquitted after a jury returned a not guilty verdict.
A police rank, stationed at Police Headquarters, Eve Leary, appeared before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry in June, last charged for raping an eight-year-old girl.
He was released on bail and is facing trial in the Magistrates’ Court. This cop’s name cannot be published for fear of the child’s identity being uncovered.
Forced teen into prostitution
Also to make the news was a Police Corporal who masterminded an operation designed to traffic a 14-year-old girl and her sister.
Corporal Huford David was jailed for four years by the Chief Magistrate earlier this month after she found him guilty of transporting the 14-year-old from Georgetown to Kumakuma Creek, Mazaruni River, where he forced her into prostitution.
The Trafficking in Persons charge leveled against the 36-year-old detailed that the girl was sexually exploited within the period of January 1 to January 31, 2013. The court heard how David lured the teen into the interior with promises of working as a shop attendant.
David was also charged for raping the said 14-year-old. He was last year committed to stand trial in the High Court for that matter.
Illegal possession of arms and ammunition
Last September, Tactical Services Unit (TSU) rank Ocquema Dawson was convicted for shooting a civilian in his leg and slipping his own ammunition into the service firearm in place of some of the rounds he had discharged.
Dawson, 28, will spend the next 84 months in prison following the ruling of city Magistrate Judy Latchman.
Whilst performing duties on February 18, last year, Dawson, entered the Globe Yard on Waterloo Street and approached a group of men. Reports are he walked up and held on to one of them. Phillip Small, a bicycle repairman, noticed what had happened, intervened and upbraided the rank about the way he handled the man.
Dawson reportedly became annoyed and cuffed Small and the man cuffed him back. The rank then discharged three shots from his gun. Two hit Small on his right leg. The Force had revealed that Dawson was issued a pistol with 15 rounds of ammunition but when he returned after the incident, the gun had 14 rounds.
Dawson was charged with discharging a loaded firearm with intent, as well as unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The Magistrate, in ruling, said that one shot was enough to restrain Small and that a member of the TSU should not have acted in that manner. She noted that Dawson did not act out of self-defence. The Magistrate had also stressed the need for the courts to send a message to members of the Force that abrasive actions will not be condoned.
Shooting civilians, colleagues
On June 9, Police Cadet Officer Franz Paul, was accused of discharging a loaded firearm at Alex Griffith, a teen. It was said the Cadet Officer placed a firearm in the teen’s mouth on April 30 and shot him.
He was charged with intent to maim, disable, disfigure or cause grievous bodily harm to him. It is also alleged that he unlawfully and maliciously inflicted grievous bodily harm as well as assaulted the teen. Paul and Corporal Singh were charged for conspiring with each other, on May 1, at Georgetown to pervert the course of justice. They were released on $150,000 for that charge in the Magistrates’ court.
It was said that Singh took the Firearms and Ammunition book to Paul, while he was under close arrest, to alter the entries therein.
Paul was remanded but later secured bail in the high court.
Also, Detective Constable, Shawn Roberts who reportedly shot one of his colleagues and attempted to remove the spent shells from the crime scene, was released on $240,000 bail when he appeared before city Magistrate Ann McLennan last week.
Roberts, a constable attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Brickdam Police Station, was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, discharging a loaded firearm with intent, threatening language and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The detective constable was accused of discharging a loaded firearm at his colleague, Police Constable, Leroy English. Another Constable stationed at the Brickdam Police Station was also charged in relation to Roberts’ incident.
Perverting the course of justice
Constable Jermaine Charles appeared before Magistrate Judy Latchman on Tuesday and was granted $200,000 bail on perverting the course of justice allegation.
That stemmed from an incident that allegedly occurred on September 3, last at Eccles, East Bank Demerara.
He is set to face Magistrate Leron Daly at the Providence Magistrate’s Court on December 15.
Also to make headlines was the Sergeant-in-Charge of the Leonora Police Station. Aleem Subhan, 34, is being accused of stealing just over $7.5 million bail money from the Guyana Police Force.
The charge against Subhan stated that between October 1st, 2013 and August 8th, 2014, being employed as a Clerk/Servant with the Guyana Police Force, he stole $7, 536, 733, which was the property of the Guyana Police Force.
He was granted $500,000 bail by Magistrate Ann McLennan after he pleaded not guilty. The case will be called again on December 2nd at the Leonora Magistrate’s Court.
A senior police official had once explained that from the first day of a lawman’s arraignment, he will be interdicted from duty, pending the outcome of the court case.
If found guilty ranks will face dismissal but if exonerated the file will be sent back to the DPP for advice. Ranks charged have police powers and will be receiving half their regular salary during the period of interdiction.
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