Outstanding JP statement stalls cops' corruption case
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU: An outstanding statement from a justice of the peace (JP) in the case against three St James policemen who reportedly took more than J$330,000 from a motorist in exchange for not prosecuting him has resulted in the case being deferred to November 12.
Corporals Joseph Robinson and Robert Thomas, and Constable André Small, are charged before the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court for breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act. Their bail was extended after the court was told that the prosecution's case file was incomplete as the JP's statement had not been added to the file.
It is alleged that on June 21, approximately 3 a.m., Robinson and Small intercepted the complainant and his girlfriend along Gloucester Avenue in Montego Bay and conducted a search of their vehicle, during which J$140,000 was found in the glove compartment and seized. The complainant was asked to provide his driver's licence and motor vehicle documents, but he was unable to do so. The officers then asked for money in exchange for releasing him from charges, and the complainant gave them US$1,720 (J$192,413.74).
Wanted more money
It is further alleged that the officers then directed the couple to an automated banking machine to get more money, but they did not do so. The couple was subsequently taken to the Montego Bay Police Station, where Thomas spoke to the other cops and then asked the male complainant for an additional J$10,000. Thomas also instructed him to leave his car documents and jewellery behind.
A report was made to the Anti-Corruption Branch, and a sting operation put in place, following which Thomas was arrested. Subsequent investigations led to the arrests of Robinson and Small.