Witness missing, cops freed of criminal charge

Two po­lice of­fi­cers have been freed of tak­ing a $900 bribe to re­lease a man they ar­rest­ed for rob­bery in 2010.

Cpls David Joe­field and Mar­vin St Rose were dis­charged by Mag­is­trate Chris­tine Charles in Port-of-Spain Mag­is­trate’s Court, on Tues­day, af­ter she up­held a no case sub­mis­sion from their at­tor­neys.

The sub­mis­sion was made af­ter Charles re­ject­ed an ap­pli­ca­tion from the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion (DPP) to ten­der state­ments from its two main wit­ness­es in­to ev­i­dence as they could not be lo­cat­ed to tes­ti­fy and be cross-ex­am­ined.

Charles stat­ed that steps tak­en by pros­e­cu­tors and the po­lice to lo­cate the wit­ness­es were not rea­son­able to jus­ti­fy the ap­pli­ca­tion un­der Sec­tion 15 (c) of the Ev­i­dence Act.

Joe­field and St Rose, who were last as­signed to the North­ern Di­vi­sion, were al­leged­ly ar­rest­ed dur­ing a sting op­er­a­tion in Barataria on June 21, 2010. They were both charged with mis­be­hav­ing in pub­lic of­fice by ac­cept­ing a $900 bribe from a rel­a­tive of At­i­ba Castil­lo, whom they had ar­rest­ed ear­li­er for sus­pi­cion of rob­bery.

Joe­field was al­so charged with fail­ing to ex­e­cute an ar­rest war­rant on Castil­lo for a sep­a­rate case in which he was the com­plainant. Castil­lo was one of the two wit­ness­es, who could not be lo­cat­ed by po­lice to tes­ti­fy in the case.

The de­ci­sion in the case now clears the way for the of­fi­cers to seek to be re­in­stat­ed by the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS).

Joe­field was rep­re­sent­ed by Shir­vani Ramkissoon, while Lar­ry Williams rep­re­sent­ed St Rose.

Reporter: Derek Achong

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