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Cops want help after colleague injured by prisoners at courthouse

Published:Thursday | October 15, 2015 | 10:00 AMBarbara Gayle

Police personnel manning the criminal courts at the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston are upset that one of their colleagues nearly lost his life when he was attacked over a ganja spliff while processing six prisoners in the cell downstairs at the courthouse yesterday.

The policeman suffered several bruises and had to seek medical attention.

In an effort to prevent serious injury to himself, the policeman managed to overpower the prisoners who were trying to take away his baton.

It is reported that the policeman was alone in the cell processing a group of prisoners on murder charges. He noticed that one of them had a ganja spliff in his mouth and ordered that he give it to him. The prisoner was in the process of handing it over when one of the other prisoners grabbed the ganja spliff.

The prisoners then gathered around the policeman and began holding him and wrestling with him to take away his baton.

They bragged that they were charged with murder and were not afraid of the police.

The policeman managed to overpower them and used the baton to hit one of them. The baton caught the prisoner on the side of his face and the wound began to bleed profusely. The prisoners let go of the policemen when they saw that one of the attackers was injured.

A policeman who was standing outside the cell door watched helplessly as he could not open the cell door for fear the prisoners would escape.

"Imagine we don't even have a tin of pepper spray with us," a policeman remarked.

shortage of pepper spray

Another policeman disclosed that there was a shortage of pepper spray, and the few that were in store were given to the police who did duty on the streets.

"The prisoners not only come on the building with ganja spliffs, but many times they have cutting implements with them," a policewoman said. She said just last week, a razor blade was taken from a prisoner.

There were numerous complaints about the shortage of police personnel at the courthouse, with only three currently assigned to man the cell, which houses more than 30 prisoners daily. Five police personnel are required in a courtroom, but the police say, currently, only two are available for each court.

They say they are calling for the authorities to take immediate steps to remedy the situation because it is a serious breach of security.

The police have been complaining for the last five years about inadequate security on the Supreme Court building.

Prisoners smoking ganja in the cell is a daily occurrence at the courthouse.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com