Corruption case hampered by incomplete evidence
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
THE CASE of the seven policemen who reportedly accepted money from a St James businessman in exchange for not prosecuting him on ganja charges last November was hampered on Tuesday by the absence of call data records from the prosecution's case file.
Constables Alman Fletcher, Delroy Brown, Marvin Campbell, Devon Bernard, Dwayne Lynch, Paul Williams, and Tajay Allen, who are all attached to the St James police division, subsequently had their bails extended until October 29, following their appearance in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court.
The seven are charged with extortion, corruptly soliciting money, corruptly accepting money, and aiding and abetting, arising from allegations that in November 2013 they solicited and accepted $300,000 from a businessman in exchange for not prosecuting him for a quantity of ganja that was found on his premises during a police operation.
"Our file is still incomplete, as the phone records are not ready in total. One of the records was in fact ready, but the investigating officer is not in possession of it," clerk of the court Natalie Malcolm told presiding magistrate Carolyn Tie, when the case was mentioned on Tuesday.
However, attorney-at-law Morrel Beckford, who is part of the seven cops' defence counsel, complained that time had already been allotted to the investigating officer to get the
Records to complete the file
"I do not know, when an officer says he wants one month, what he means. On July 16, they wanted one month (to complete the file), and they got six weeks' time, and six weeks later they want another month," said attorney Beckford.
"The reality of the situation is that there is one lab (forensic laboratory), so these are the constraints the court has to deal with ... . I am going to give them more than a month," Tie replied, before setting the case for mention on October 29.