Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Cop sent to prison for harbouring fugitive

Published:Monday | July 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas

Western Bureau:

Constable Kaye Falconer, the Montego Bay-based policewoman who was convicted in February for harbouring a fugitive, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in the St James Parish Court on Friday.

Falconer, whose sentencing was delayed on several occasions for a variety of reasons including illness, which landed her in the Cornwall Regional Hospital for a while, shed tears in court as the much-anticipated sentence was handed down.

According to reports, on January 30, 2013, Greg Taylor, considered a dangerous criminal, escaped custody at the Freeport Police Station in Montego Bay under questionable circumstances. Several police personnel, including Falconer, were charged in connection with what was described as his unauthorised release.

After being on the run for just under a month, the police, acting on intelligence, carried out a raid at Falconer's Glendevon home on the morning of Sunday, February 24, 2013.

During a search, Taylor was reportedly found hiding under a table, clad in a bathrobe and slippers.

Falconer, who was present at the location when Taylor was found, was promptly taken into custody. She was subsequently arrested and charged with harbouring a fugitive.

Breach of public's trust

In handing down her sentence on Friday, presiding judge Natalie Hart-Hines, told Falconer that her actions of having Taylor, who she knew was a fugitive from justice, at her home, constituted a breach of the public's trust in the police.

"It is a very serious offence in that you were personally and actively keeping the man (Taylor) from the arm of justice," Hart-Hines told Falconer. "The public's confidence in the police has been negatively impacted."

Prior to being led out of the courtroom, Falconer was observed wiping more tears from her eyes as some of her former colleagues looked on without showing any emotions.

"She is an embarrassment to the police force ... she took an oath to protect the society and here she was, caught with a man who had escaped custody," said a police sergeant who asked not to be identified by name.

"The sentence is too short ... the two years and six months should be only for embarrassing the organisation."

Falconer's legal woes are not yet over as she and the other police personnel implicated in Taylor's escape are still before the court on corruption charges.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com