Tue | May 22, 2018

Data entry error ... police explain why records showed Patrick Powell and cop issued licence for same gun

Published:Monday | November 7, 2016 | 6:01 PM
Businessman Patrick Powell leaving the Home Circuit Court after he was freed of the Khajeel Mais murder two weeks ago.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is reporting that there was a data entry error in 2004 when it recorded that businessman Patrick Powell and police inspector Patricia Powell-Wallace were both issued a licence for the same firearm, a Walther 9 milli-metre pistol.

"The JCF is now satisfied, based on thorough investigations, that a data entry error, due to similar names, was responsible for this development," a JCF spokesperson said in a statement today.

The police say Inspector Powell-Wallace was granted a licence for the pistol in the Manchester Division in 2004, and has been the sole person licensed to carry that weapon. 

It said in 2011 when the error was first detected, Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell interviewed her and was satisfied that she was the sole owner of the weapon.

IN PHOTO: ACP Ealan Powell

"There are no records in Manchester indicating that Mr. Patrick Powell was ever granted a firearm licence there or for the firearm in question. In fact, it has always been the case that his firearm was a Glock 9mm pistol," the JCF said, noting that Inspector Powell-Wallace is an outstanding cop whose conduct has never been questioned.

Two weeks ago, Patrick Powell was freed of the murder of 17-year-old schoolboy Khajeel Mais.

See below, the statement from the police:

It is to be noted that prior to the creation of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) in 2006, the JCF was responsible for issuing firearm licences in Jamaica. As part of that mandate, the JCF maintained a database on the holders of firearm licenses, as well as the licensed firearms.

Between 2004 and 2006, the JCF employed a System Analyst and Software Engineer who developed and administered an electronic Firearms Database on behalf of the JCF. 

Following its establishment in 2006, the FLA took over all responsibilities for the issuing of licences from the JCF. 

In April 2006, the electronic database was also handed over to the FLA and no portion was retained by the JCF.

The System Analyst and Software Engineer who developed the electronic database for the JCF was hired by the FLA, and he took the electronic database with him when he left for the FLA.

In sum, the electronic database has been held solely by the FLA since 2006 and the JCF has no access to the database at the FLA.

READ: Patrick Powell's file missing at FLA, audit shows cop also issued licence for same firearm

The JCF is also refuting recent claims by the former Chairman of the FLA, Mr. Errol Strong, during an interview on Nationwide Radio, suggesting that the FLA was unable to revoke Mr. Powell’s firearm licence because the JCF investigators had not provided FLA with the documents that were requested.

The JCF is making it categorically clear that all information requested by the FLA was provided and documentary proof exists to support this claim.

July 11, 2011 – A Deputy Superintendent of Police attached to the (Criminal Investigation Branch) CIB visited the office of the Major Investigations Task Force where Patrick Powell was being questioned in relation to the shooting death of Khajeel Mais. Mr. Powell was requested to hand over his Glock 9mm pistol, but he refused.

July 19, 2011 – Mr. Patrick Powell was visited at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre and was again requested to hand over his Glock 9mm pistol, and again he refused. He was charged accordingly.

August 11, 2011 – The CIB wrote to Mrs. Donna Graham-Gayle, then Chief Executive Officer of FLA, requesting the revocation of the Glock 9mm pistol ESS673, issued to Patrick Powell, pursuant to section 36(1) of the Firearms Act. The grounds on which the recommendation was made were listed in the letter, which included his refusal to hand over his licensed firearm for inspection in breach of section 39(4) of the Firearms Act.

August 31, 2011 – The CIB wrote to Mrs. Graham-Gayle, once more requesting the revocation of the firearm in question. The correspondence referred to a telephone conversation that was had with her earlier that day on the revocation of the firearm. During the conversation, a verbal request was made for a statement from the investigating officer. That statement was submitted to the FLA the same day. Although requests were made orally and in writing by the CIB, the FLA did not respond to any of the correspondences between 2011 and 2013.

January 28, 2014 - The Police wrote to Mrs. Graham-Gayle for a third time, on this occasion, seeking confirmation if Patrick Powell had renewed his licence and to re-submit the request for its revocation if it had not already been done. The statement, which was requested and first submitted in August 2011, was also resubmitted to the FLA.

Regarding the Smith and Wesson .38 Revolver BFN6604 which was issued at St. Andrew North Division in November 1990, the matter is still under investigation and the results will be made known to the public as soon as they come to hand.