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Cops on corruption charges offered bail

Published:Thursday | July 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The three policemen, who allegedly took money amounting to over $332,000 from a motorist in exchange for not prosecuting him, last month, were offered bail when they appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday.

Corporals Joseph Robinson and Robert Thomas, as well as Constable André Small, who are charged for breaches of the Corruption (Prevention) Act, were offered bail in the combined sum of J$2.1 million. They are to return to court on September 25.

It is alleged that on June 21, at 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 $140,000 was found in the glove compartment. 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).

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 officers and then asked the male complainant for an additional $10,000. Thomas also instructed him to leave his car documents and jewellery behind.

Sting operation

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 arrest of Robinson and Small.

Yesterday, attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas, in making a bail application for the three defendants, took issue with the manner in which the identification parade had been conducted.

"All three men take issue with the allegations, and I must point out that Small was never identified by any of the complainants. The witness who, it is purported, identified Small, was shown two persons, then was shown one person and asked about that person ... in the eyes of the law, that is not positive identification," said Thomas, who added that the defendants did not have any previous convictions.

The court was also told that the prosecution's case file was not complete as phone records in relation to the case were outstanding.

Robinson and Thomas were each offered bail in the sum of $800,000 with two sureties and were instructed to report to the police on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Robinson will report at the Mount Salem Police Station, while Thomas will report at the Rio Bueno Police Station in Trelawny.

Meanwhile, Small was offered bail in the sum of $500,000 with two sureties and instructed to report at the Falmouth Police Station on Mondays and Fridays.