Gary Spaulding • Senior Gleaner Writer
SSP Lewis' advice ignored as bribery case ignites
Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis has unleashed a bombshell in the corruption case against three influential Jamaicans that rocked the country last week.
"I am going to say one thing to you and nothing more. If my instructions were followed, what happened would not have happened," Lewis, who heads the Traffic Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, told The Sunday Gleaner.
"I constantly told them to take it to the court and let the court deal with it," he added.
He was responding to queries about his role in the process which started with a routine traffic stop for a motorist who was going above the speed limit, and has now resulted in a made-for-media court drama involving a powerful businessman, an outspoken politician, and a police officer with a solid reputation and a national profile.
Ironically, it was an initial allegation of bribery levelled by police sergeants Jubert Llewellyn and D. Lewis, attached to the police Traffic Division headquarters on Elletson Road, which started the ball rolling.
According to the reports, the events emerged from the issuing of a traffic ticket to businessman Bruce Bicknell by Llewelyn for speeding on the morning of Easter Monday, April 9, 2012, along Florizel Glasspole Boulevard.
Bicknell, who was accused of driving at 80km/h on a stretch that facilitated 50km/h, was charged with bribery after he allegedly offered two $1,000 notes to Llewellyn inside an envelope containing the papers for the motor vehicle.
Since news of the incident broke last Monday, Llewellyn has reportedly come under pressure, sparking concerns about the spirits of other members of the police Traffic Division.
But Lewis told The Sunday Gleaner that the morale of the men and women under his command remains high.
"This incident doesn't faze us. It simply has not affected our morale," he said.
Questioned on whether he had been asked to submit a statement to investigators, Lewis declared: "I am not going to answer you."
When asked if he has been summoned to appear as a witness in the case, Lewis also shied away.
"I am declining to comment on that."
The Sunday Gleaner also sought answers from Lewis as to whether he was aware of the sequence of events as they unfolded since April 9, when the drama started to play out.
SPOKE WITH LLEWELLYN
"When I heard it was bribery, I sat him (Llewellyn) down and asked him how it went, and then dictated the entry that is to be made and he wrote it and signed it … . I was an operating experienced officer."
A Sunday Gleaner probe found that nearly a week later, Llewellyn was at the Elletson Road Sports Complex when he received a call from Lewis, who instructed him to attend his office.
Llewellyn was reportedly informed that the Anti-Corruption Branch was requesting statements from the two sergeants who were on duty, Llewellyn and D. Lewis.
The Sunday Gleaner learnt that Lewis subsequently instructed Llewellyn to attend the traffic headquarters to be escorted to the Anti-Corruption Branch by one Inspector McKenzie.
At the branch, Llewellyn reportedly met and spoke with Assistant Commissioner of Police Justin Felice and Senior Superintendent Selvin Hay and outlined the sequence of events to them, after which statements were registered starting the probe which is now before the court for a determination.
Member of parliament for Western Portland, Daryl Vaz; head of the police Community and Safety Branch, Senior Superintendent James Forbes; and Bicknell, a noted business personality, were last week hauled before the Half-Way Tree Criminal Court on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.
The three were charged following an investigation by the police Anti-Corruption Branch based on a ruling by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Vaz, Forbes and Bicknell are to return to court on September 5.