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Armadale sanctions!

Published:Saturday | February 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter

THE POLICE High Command has moved against four members of the force over their actions surrounding the fire at the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre in St Ann, which resulted in the death of seven wards of the State.

One week after the report of the commission of enquiry was leaked to the media, the Police High Command announced that three constables from the St Ann Police Division and one corporal from the Police Area Two Headquarters have been interdicted following investigations into their roles in the incident on May 22, 2009.

According to the High Command, the interdiction notices were served and became effective on Thursday, February 25.

The High Command added that a file had already been prepared and sent to the director of public prosecutions, who indicated that a ruling would be handed down expeditiously.

The interdicted cops were not named by the High Command, but in his report, the sole commissioner, Mr Justice Paul Harrison, was biting in his criticisms of the actions of some members of the force.

At the top of the list was Constable Lawrence Burrell of the Alexandria police who, Harrison said, discharged a tear-gas canister, which was the immediate cause of the fire.

The commissioner also rejected Burrell's claim that he saw someone inside the dormitory "light something and dropped it on one of the beds".

criminal acts

"I would recommend that the relevant statements, notes of evidence and my report be forwarded to the director of public prosecutions for consideration, whether or not his (Burrell) conduct gives rise to any criminal acts," Harrison said in his report.

Another constable, Roogae Rowland, was also identified by the commissioner as an "untruthful witness".

According to the commissioner, Rowland falsified an entry into the station diary about the number of canisters handed over at the end of his shift.

Constable Albert Wisdom was also identified by the commissioner as having falsified the station dairy.

"I reject as untrue and evidentially invalid the oral evidence of Constable Wisdom ... ," Harrison said in his report.

Four cops interdicted for roles in fire at juvenile centre