the following should be
provisions of the Police Amendment Act 1998, section 32(A)(1)b, the Governor
from October 1, 2001 has ordered all interviews with persons suspected of
indictable offences to be tape-recorded in facilities designated by the
Commissioner of Police as suitable.
is the island any nearer complying with this?
A year on and .... the island continue sot adopt its draconian methods,
oblivious to the fact that civilised communities abide by human rights
legislations and are accountable.
Wednesday, January 9, 2002
are dragging their feet by failing to comply with legislation designed to ensure
that Police interviews are handled correctly, a defence lawyer has claimed.
Former Crown counsel Larry Mussenden said the Bermuda Police Service
needs to implement its tape recording interviewing of suspects in the main
criminal investigations or risk further mistrust by members of the public.
“As far as audio recordings are concerned, they have not implemented it
in the main Police Stations,” he said. “The legislation has been out since
October and the only place they have set up tape recorded interviews is at the
financial crime unit.
“They need to have these devices in place where people are arrested regularly. “They
are making a mockery of the Government. “They
need to tell the public when they are going to have these devices in place.”
Mussenden - who is currently co-counsel, representing Gernell Leroy Darrell in
the George Kelly murder case - said the Bermuda Police Service needed to move
into the 21st Century by becoming properly equipped like other Police Services
around the world. He added that with the absence of the taped interview system,
Police are failing to uphold the rights of people who are hauled in for alleged
criminal crimes by interviewing them in an unfair manner. And Mr. Mussenden
suggested that several Police cases could see the proper prosecution if there
was an accurate record taken from the beginning.“I invite the Police to give an
explanation to Government and the Criminal Defence Bar as to why the ordinance
is not in place,” he said. “We are still left with a situation of the last 50
years where we are not satisfied - that the proper procedures are not put in
place when statements are taken. “These are the kinds of things that cause the
public to lose confidence in the Police.” Mr.
Mussenden has been vocal in recent weeks about Police procedure, most notably
their handling of the 6,000 outstanding warrants.
claimed that the manner of Police stopping people and going onto people's jobs
“shaking down workers” breached the Constitutional rights of individuals.In
response, after consultation with the Attorney General's Chambers, Police
assured that they were operating within the confines of the law.Last week, the
Police Commissioner said that motorists were being stopped based on The Motor
Car Act, The Road Traffic Act, The Misuse of Drugs Act and the Auxiliary
Bicycles Act to see if licenses were in order. And through that procedure, if
people were found to have outstanding warrants, they were arrested. But of the
taped interview procedure Mr. Mussenden said he will not rest until people
brought in on criminal charges are given the chance to
give a statement in an environment that operated fairly.
“It appears that the Police have chosen a department with the least
amount of criminal contact to house this equipment,” he said.
“They've got it in an impractical department when it comes to the investigation
of crimes in this country.”
Yesterday, Police were unable to comment.
Thursday, January 10, 2002
Jonathan Smith says a new facility for recording Police interviews should be up
and running in about 12-15 months.
Commissioner of Police has responded to a defence lawyer's claims that Police
are lagging in bringing the Service up to snuff by not implementing a taped
Commissioner Jonathan Smith moved to correct Larry Mussenden's comments, and
explained introducing the system was a long and complex process and not as
simple as placing a recording device in front of an interviewee and pressing a
Mr. Mussenden said in yesterday's Royal Gazette that legislation passed
in October to allow for Police to record interviews had not been complied with
in a timely fashion.
And he challenged Police to let the public know when the system would be up and
Mr. Smith said the system - which has a $75,000 price tag attached - was on
target for completion in roughly 12 to 15 months.
However he said it was dependant on a series of extensive renovations to Police
Stations and the training of more than 400 officers.
“First of all it's a very complex undertaking,” he said. “We have to be very
sure that the equipment we have purchased is suitable for all the local
conditions and has been tried and tested elsewhere. We have done all of that.
“The assertion is that we are doing nothing and that is far from an accurate
portrayal of where we are. In terms of the legislation, we had to draft notes
and guidelines, we had to amend all of our internal instructions, actual
directions as to how this equipment is to be used.
“We then had to identify trainers - because specialist trainers have to be
brought in from overseas to train our officers to use this equipment and the
facilities. There is a certain technique involved rather than just writing the
interview. You have to make sure the interview actually captures what is being
Mr. Smith said extensive renovations to sound proof nearly a dozen designated
sites for the equipment was the next undertaking, with Somerset Police Station
and the Serious Crimes Unit next in line to receive the upgrades.
Currently the Commercial Crimes Unit is the only area that has had the system up
and running since October, where eight interviews have already been recorded.
“The assertion is that we are failing to comply with the legislation - that is
not correct,” he said. “That is not accurate, we are in compliance. The
legislation was crafted in such a way that would allow a phase in process. We're
in the process right now in finishing off the renovations for a training
facility. We also had to try and anticipate how many sites would be used - yes
it's an interview room, but with specialist equipment in it.”
And the Commissioner said that Police are working closely with the Department of
Works and Engineering to revamp St. George's and Somerset Police Stations, which
he said posed a problem because the facilities were “sub-standard”.
“Until the renovations are done I cannot designate a facility,” he added. “It's
so dependant on renovations.”
But Mr. Smith assured that once the system has been completed, it will result in
a more efficient way of Police serving the public when conducting interviews.
“Every jurisdiction where the Police have had this legislation come along have
had to go through these challenges,” he said. “And because we are a small
jurisdiction, we have had to call on our assistance from overseas. We're very
confident that the acquisition of the equipment will serve the administration of
justice really well.
“We are dealing with renovations that take time. Once my guys say that the room
is ready I designate for the equipment to be installed. We're committed to it,
that's why I had to address that we are not complying.”