Cruel & corrupt cops? - Motorist claims his motor car was scrapped while in police custody
Allan Carter is angry, confused and is threatening to take the State to court after his motor car was scrapped while it was impounded by the St Elizabeth police for more than five years.
Carter, his face creased in dismay as he addressed a forum on corruption put on by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) last Monday, said that in 2012 his vehicle was seized by police during a spot check in St Elizabeth.
He said the police charged him for having no vehicle registration, no fitness, and also for displaying fraudulent licence plates. Within days he was before a judge, who threw out the charges of displaying fraudulent plates, and ordered that he pay fines for the two other charges.
"I was surprised at how quickly the matter was dealt with," he said, taking a deep breath before telling of the long process in getting back the car.
Carter said the cops asked for more time to investigate the vehicle, and that despite numerous phone calls to the Black River Police Station and the investigating officer in the ensuing months, he was provided with no information on the vehicle.
He later contacted to the Police Area Three Command, which has jurisdiction over all police stations in the parish. There he was advised to take the matter to the Attorney General's Department (AGD) for a decision.
He did, and two weeks ago he was sent a letter from the AGD giving instruction to the police to release the vehicle. He travelled to St Elizabeth and that's when he realised the car had been scrapped.
"The transmission was gone, the air conditioning was gone, the starter gone, the engine block was still there but the engine was stripped. All the cables, the radiator, the power window motor, computer box, wires, they are all gone," Carter told The Sunday Gleaner following the forum.
"Now I am up against a wall. How could the vehicle be in police custody and was scrapped? Now, after five years, I am going to have to start fighting an uphill battle with the State," he said, bemoaning the costs that he will now face.
"Where is the justice in that? The delayed justice is causing a serious problem in this country," argued Carter.
He claimed that for most of time the vehicle was housed at the police station before being transferred to a nearby pound, which has since indicated that it will begin charging him for storage if the car is not collected immediately.
Late last week, head of the Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, argued that with a vehicle in police custody for five years it would be subject to weather elements.
Allen suggested that Carter could engage a lawyer to take up the matter.