|July 15. 2004 8:16AM
- By Catherine Hay
acquitted of desertion
Magistrate calls for probe into police abuse of suspects
Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner
came out with guns blazing yesterday as he acquitted a policeman of
“desertion” and called for a commission to
investigate Police Service’s treatment of crime suspects.
this will come as no
surprise to readers of this site. Possibly now both crime suspects
and police officers subjected to disciplinary hearings will be afforded
their basic human rights. Time to do away with disciplinary hearings
and place such issues before competent professionals as opposed to senior
officers prosecuting junior officers, using senior officer witnesses in
front of a senior officer?
Mr. Warner – who first came to
Bermuda from Barbados as a policeman more than 30 years ago – called
the prosecution of constable Rickie Marcus Joseph, 31, under the Police
Act of 1974 for desertion “oblique” and “does little to add to the
credibility of the management” of the service.
Mr. Justice Warner also described the use of the courts by the
Service to discipline officers as obscure and obsolete.
the leadership has
suffered a lack of credibility since the appointment of the current leaders.
The signal sent to serving and potential officers was simple; management is
oppressive. It also appears that there is desperation - unable to
acquire sufficient, competent staff, the constabulary will do anything it
can to keep those officers it has. We suspect PC Joseph's arrest was
intended to send a message to current serving officers - defy us at your
peril. Nothing has changed.
who joined the Service in June of 2003 with 11 years of service in his native
St. Lucia, broke down in tears as he recounted an alleged assault by a senior
can you get a fair,
impartial investigation if you are a junior officer complaining about a
senior officer? NO. Your evidence is worthless and the
investigation likely to be a sham. Your card will forever be marked
and this site is testament to such behaviour.
YOU WERE WARNED!
The likes of George
Jackson and Carlton Adams are in positions of authority which the author of
this site states they are insufficiently qualified to undertake.
who lived at the barracks at Prospect, Devonshire, was charged with deserting
the Bermuda Police Service on July 3, 2004, when he was caught attempting to
board a plane for New York. Last night, in a
press release, a Police spokesman wrote that in light of P.c. Joseph’s
acquittal, the Service would consider whether changes are needed in the law
dealing with the prosecution of serving officers.
Changes are required in
the service, not the law! How arrogant to think otherwise.
Change your archaic
Oh, for the record
'police spokesman' - you do not make the laws and no doubt this will come as
great comfort to the junior ranks.
spokesman' you would like to add some further offences to the statues to
address those members of the public (little people) with whom you have an
issue but in respect of whom the current laws do not provide
sufficient means of persecution. How about some classics:
stepping on the cracks
in the pavement
wearing a loud shirt
during the hours of daylight
being in possession of
an offensive wife
looking at me funny
Possibly the service
should be looking toward reinstating 'mutiny' and the introduction of
flogging? At the very least officers should surrender their travel
documents on arrival in the island.
|“From the perspective of overseas recruiting generally, we remain immensely
proud of the many hard-working and loyal officers from the Caribbean and UK. The
Service and the community are fortunate to have these hard-working officers
here,” the release continued.
so PC Joseph is disloyal? He
complains of being assaulted and is NOT guilty of desertion and then suffers
the inferences of a police spokesperson.
Hard-working mentioned twice? It does cause the
discerning and questioning reader to ask whether this overstatement hides a
more basic truth. Or are Bermudan readers believed to accept anything
they are spoon fed?
The Bermuda Police Farce does not
encourage hard work.
|When asked whether P.c. Joseph was still a member of the Service, the Police
media relations officer declined to comment.
well, what did you expect - an informed
response? The answer is yes or no ... or should it have been:
'let's wait and see what a kangaroo disciplinary can railroad through?
was the question that difficult?
Unsure what your bosses wanted to hear? Or just an uniformed
|Mr. Warner said that he could conclude from the Crown’s evidence that P.c.
Joseph attempted to desert, adding: “In considering the Police submission it
seems the complaint was made for oblique reasons.”
now is the time to investigate these
reasons - what were the motives? Where is proportionality,
reasonableness and common sense or is there no place for them in a modern
(who are we kidding) Bermudan police service?
This appears to be a human rights abuse
or evidence of oppressive conduct? Yet another that will be buried? If
the Bermudan police treats its own in this manner, just how do you think the
people of Bermuda are considered? If the police are sufficiently
confident to take such action against a trained police officer who should be
sufficiently conversant with the legislation, how much easier is it to
trample over the rights of a citizen?
|Mr. Warner called the provision in the Police Act of 1974 which makes desertion
a criminal offence “unfortunate” saying: “If Police are using criminal court to
discipline officers then it seems that Section 31 is obsolete in this Police
Service. “It lends itself to oblique use and can be of little practical use.”
was the criminal Court used to discipline,
or was it intended to send a more aggressive message? Are the senior
officers who authorised this excessive action foolhardy or bullies?
“The items found in the evidence are clearly meant to prejudice the court.
This complaint and prosecution does little to add to credibility of the
management of Bermuda’s Police force,” he continued.
and the management buck stops with:
again, we say 'you were warned'!
You only have yourselves to blame.
Is this the first time the prosecution
have tailored evidence presentation to suit their own means? Just what
is the magistrate saying; that the Bermuda police farce have deliberately
excluded evidence that could go toward the suspects innocence?
This comment warrants further
examination - is it that the prosecution have suppressed evidence? The
magistrate appears to be making a serious derogatory comment about the
police. How can any magistrate accept at face value any evidence
presented in the future until such time as the entire 'service' undergoes a
|In addition, Mr. Warner said that he felt
sure of the defendant’s credibility, pointing out P.c. Joseph’s “religious
values” and dedication to “continue planting seeds in the kingdom of God”.
If the witness is
credible then possibly, there is the most remote chance, that the
alleged assault by
a senior officer will be investigated. It would
appear that PC Joseph now has the endorsement of the Court, certainly with
regard to his credibility as a witness - an honest one.
Time will tell - will
the next person to appear before the Court be the senior officer who
allegedly assaulted him? Or will the Bermuda police seek to undermine
the PC Joseph's credibility to protect their own?
Could it be that the
Bermuda police have shot themselves in the foot - if they'd let PC Joseph
leave the island the complaint against the senior officer would have fallen
at the first fence - no witness and they could say what they wanted about an
officer who had left (allegedly fled)?
|Earlier, Mr. Warner dismissed the evidence of P.c. Suzanne DeSilva who testified
that P.c. Joseph had told her he was leaving the island and the Service three
days before the offence. “In my view Miss DeSilva’s evidence didn’t have the necessary ring of truth. I’m
not satisfied to be sure that her submissions were true,” he explained, adding
that he found Miss DeSilva “arrogant in her delivery” of testimony.
something else for the
Bermuda police to investigate ... or should we ay 'sweep under the carpet'
How many of you reading
the magistrates comments (as reported in the Royal Gazette) interpreted them
to mean that Miss Desilva was a was a confident liar who could not be
Is there a place for the
likes of Miss Desilva in the Bermuda police? If you were the subject
of an ongoing prosecutions by the officer or involved in cases where
the officer is a witness, how confident would you feel about her credibility
|P.c. DeSilva claimed to remember verbatim her conversation with P.c. Joseph and
refused to refresh her memory from notes. However, Mr. Warner said, she made several errors in her testimony, including
the date which she claimed P.c. Joseph told her he was leaving as well as the
nationality of his pastor, who was South African and not West-African as she
is this a case of poor memory, innocent
mistake, selective memory disorder, poor coaching from someone, lack
of training, arrogance or plain old failing due to the account being
untruthful? Possibly this was just pandering to the bosses; say what they
want to hear; ingratiation?
In what context was the conversation
and who knew to approach her for an account?
There is an odd odour to the events.
Possibly an internal investigation will get to the bottom of it ... don't
hold your breath
Is now the time to call in the
professionals - instruct an outside constabulary to undertake an
investigation? It appears imperative that issues such as this are taken out
of the hands of the oppressive Socky Adams, the incompetent George Jackson
and the inexperienced John-boy Smith.
|This conversation played a key role in the Crown’s case, constituting the only
direct evidence that P.c. Joseph was intending to permanently abandon his Police
duties when he was caught trying to board a plane for New York on July 3.
and the evidence was dismissed.
Not only does it appear the island has
lost an officer (PC Joseph) the credibility of PC Desliva appears shot and
the Bermuda Police Shambles should now be the subject of an investigation
that will extend to perusing a senior officer for assault (common?).
In addition, they will receive adverse publicity. In hindsight, how much
easier to let a person do what it appears they wished to do - leave the
island as opposed to demonstrate insecurity?
|P.c. DeSilva said under oath that P.c. Joseph told her he was planning to leave
Bermuda for St. Lucia on July 5 – not July 3 – in order to open a business and
eventually open stores in Bermuda, Virginia and West Africa. She also alleged
that Joseph said: “Before the Police know it I’ll be off the Island. I’ll have
to be here to get in any trouble.”
said under oath and dismissed by the
does not bode well.
|During cross-examination, P.c. Joseph denied making that comment but did confirm
that he had plans for the business ventures. He said he was acting with the
support of a “South African apostle” who told him to “follow his faith in God”
and go into business.
|P.c. Joseph told the court that he was troubled by his superiors’ “harassment”
of him, alleging that his superiors were telling him to report that he had been
sick on June 31 when he failed to show up for his duties.
But P.c. Joseph said that he had spent the day with “an Apostle from South
Africa who had taken me through deliverance in dealing with my spiritual
intriguing ... so the officer was absent
from duty? Now there's a disciplinary offence possibly.... just what
are the Bermuda police farce playing at - sledge hammers to crack nuts?
|Director of Public Prosecutions Vinette Graham-Allen said in her summations on
Tuesday that all the evidence pointed to Joseph intending to permanently abandon
his duties as a police officer, though he may have planned on returning to the
Island to set up a business. She highlighted P.c. Joseph’s purchase of an American Airlines flight on July 2
as well as his refusal that same night to answer his door for the officer who
was investigating his absence from duties on June 31. She said that P.c. Joseph left only a TV, VCR, three police shirts, and a guitar
amplifier in his police Barracks when he left. Finally, she said the defendant handed in a letter of resignation when he was
caught at the airport. “Regardless that he was not on board the plane or cleared
customs,” Mrs. Graham-Allen said. “It’s an expressed intent and the inference
that can be drawn from his conduct is that he intended to abandon his duties in
accordance with the definition of desertion.”
so let him resign ... what have you to
lose? since when has the police service been a conscription?
what were you presented with - a
officer who no longer wished to carry out the office of constable in the
islands of Bermuda? Are you suggesting that you wanted to keep the
officer employed on the island in the knowledge that he was unlikely to act
in the best interest of its inhabitants because he did not want to be there?
Surely not ... so why not let him go?
WHY PROSECUTE PC JOSEPH,
WHAT PURPOSE DID IT SERVE?
it that others have deserted and you are fearful more will follow? Is
it that your attempts to recruit UK officers involved a deception with
regard to the quality of accommodation that caused some to return
immediately the deception was discovered - you are desperate to retain
Or are you just an
oppressive organisation intent on keeping lower ranks in their place -