Subpoena requested in St James police corruption case
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:The prosecution in the case against three St James policemen, who allegedly took more than $320,000 from a motorist in exchange for not prosecuting him, has requested a subpoena for a minister of religion, previously thought to be a justice of the peace (JP).
Clerk of the court Natalie Malcolm made the request to presiding magistrate Carolyn Tie when the case against corporals Joseph Robinson and Robert Thomas, and Constable André Small, who are charged with breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act, was mentioned in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
"In this matter, the prosecution is not ready to proceed," Malcolm told the court, explaining that a statement from the JP was still outstanding.
The court was also told that, while the person who was to have given the statement was initially believed to be a JP, subsequent checks revealed that he was a minister of religion.
Robinson, Thomas and Small all had their bails extended to December 16, when the case will again be mentioned.
It is alleged that, on June 21, at approximately 3 a.m., Robinson and Small intercepted the male complainant and his girlfriend along Gloucester Avenue in Montego Bay. They conducted a search of the vehicle, and $140,000 was reportedly found in the glove compartment.
It is further alleged that the complainant was asked to provide his driver's licence and motor-vehicle documents, but he was unable to produce them.
It was then that the policemen allegedly demanded money for not prosecuting the complainant.
They were reportedly given US$1,720 by the complainant.
The policeman is also said to have demanded that the couple go to an ATM to get more money, but they refused.
The couple was then allegedly taken to the Montego Bay Police Station where Thomas reportedly spoke to the other officers and asked the male complainant for an additional $10,000.
Thomas also allegedly instructed the complainant to leave his car, documents and jewellery behind.
A report was made to the Anti-Corruption Branch and a sting operation was set up in which Thomas was arrested.
Subsequent investigations led to the arrest of Robinson and Small.