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Breaking News:

Police following the law


Published: Aug 31, 2017

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Dear Editor,

 

It must be quite clear to the public at this time that the witch hunt being alleged by prominent politicians and lawyers is not deserving of their acceptance. It is their way of trying to stop the intensive investigations being conducted by the police (not the politicians) into the alleged blatant corruption and criminality practiced in high places and the misappropriation of our public finances, which have resulted in the dangerous economic state that exists today.

There are those persons who wish the investi­gations to cease. It is my position that the staff provided to Assistant Commissioner Paul Rolle could be increased if we ask for assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the FBI and the Metropolitan Police from London. Other Caribbean nations have received such assistance which enabled them to expedite investigations and expose the villains involved in the criminal acts.

The police force is under attack by attorneys and others for what appears to be efficient and effective probing being done and the arrests of persons allegedly involved. I concur with the critics with regard to the handcuffs and shackles, but do not agree that detention of the persons arrested was unnecessary.

As a policeman I was trained by experts such as Salathiel Thompson, Sir Albert Miller and Stanley Moir. I had the opportunity to attend many institutions overseas for train­ing. I have read the Bahamas constitution, the Criminal Procedure Code and other laws of The Bahamas.

A provision of the constitution that is relevant is where the police officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the persons arrested have committed crimes or are about to commit crimes. The detention of such persons would occur if the policeman had reasonable grounds for believing that the persons arrested would interfere with or harm the evidence connected with the offense or interfere with or cause injury to other persons; has reasonable grounds to believe that the persons arrested would alert other persons suspected of being involved in the same crimes; who are yet to be arrested or there being reasonable grounds that the per­sons arrested would hinder the recovery of any property obtained as a result of the crime.

As I recall from my training and experience the constitution provides for the denial by the police of an attorney interviewing an accused person if the investigating officer is satisfied that such a meeting would interfere with the inves­tigation. For example: An accused person is about to take the

policeman to recover a murder weapon, to rescue a kidnapped victim or to find stolen property. The attorney must be denied access to the accused. The 48-hour detention of the accused persons gives the investigating officer time to pursue and arrest other suspects, check alibis and proceed with other functions to complete the investi­gation. The 48-hour detention would be increased, as I recall, to 72 hours on application to a magistrate.

Our police force has been involved in investigations of political figures in the past. A government minister (UBP) was arrested and charged with election bribery; an MP and prominent labor leader was arrested and charged with sedition; two MPs were arrested accused of stealing and fraud at government institutions; and an MP was arrested and charged for attempting to bribe a magistrate. I recall in the latter case Cabinet ministers, party leaders and bishops attending the magistrate’s court. Their presence did not influence the custodial sentence imposed by the magistrate.

I implore our police officers to be honest, fair and work to preserve the legacy of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

We served with honor, we remember with pride.

 

– Paul Thompson

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