Legal Action?




20th July 2004

Police may face lawsuit following desertion case
by Matthew Taylor

The Policeman acquitted after being accused of desertion is set to sue the force.

Last week Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner threw out the case against P.c. Rickie Joseph, 31, whom the Crown had tried to prosecute under the Police Act of 1974 for desertion.  During the trial P.c. Joseph had broken down into tears as he claimed colleagues roughed him up after arresting him on July 3 as he attempted to leave Bermuda on a flight for New York.
It led Mr. Warner to called for an investigation into the Police Service.

One Police source said: “He’s considering whether to do them civilly.” The Royal Gazette understands he has left the island to return to his native St. Lucia but will be back in two weeks to launch the legal case.  

P.c. Joseph said he was assaulted by senior officers while in Police custody in an airport holding room as they shoved him around, strip searched him and pulled him about while he was handcuffed.  P.c. Joseph has filed a formal complaint against Inspector Calvin Smith.

The case has left Police dismayed.   One officer said: “People are left thinking it’s an absolute farce.”  He said he didn’t know what prosecutors were thinking when they launched the case and feared they wanted to make an example of P.c. Joseph after several other officers broke their contracts without giving the requisite month’s notice.

“If they were trying to make an example of him it certainly backfired,” said the source.
Last night the Bermuda Police Association said it could not comment about the case.
Last week the Police press department said in light of P.c. Joseph’s acquittal, the Service was to consider whether changes are needed in the law dealing with the prosecution of serving officers.
Director of Public Prosecutions Vinette Graham-Allen did not return a call from The Royal Gazette.





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