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5 officers suspended

Christmas Eve prison break

By Jensen LaVende jensen.lavende@trinidadexpress.com

THE Prison Service is expected to take disciplinary action against the prisons officers on duty on Christmas Eve when convicted murderer Darryl Charles-Bissoon escaped from Death Row, at the Port of Spain Prison.

In a telephone interview with the Express yesterday, Commissioner of Prisons Martin Martinez said following the report by an investigator the service is "poised to take action".

Following Charles-Bissoon's escape Martinez ordered a report on the matter and appointed an investigator to submit the report with seven days. The deadline ends today, but the report was submitted on Friday, Martinez said.

The Express understands that five prisons officers who were on duty during the escape have been suspended from duty pending the outcome of the investigations.

Martinez said the investigation has pointed in a "particular direction" and the service is poised to take action.

Asked how soon action would be taken, Martinez said "as soon as possible". He said he would not want to pre-empt any action that might take place which may prejudice the matter when asked if any criminal action would be taken against the officers.

According to police reports, Charles-Bissoon and two other men were discovered missing during the prison rounds around 7.15 a.m. The other men who attempted to escape with Charles-Bissoon were immediately recaptured by prison officers while they were attempting to scale the wall.

Charles-Bissoon was recaptured on Saturday at an apartment on Francis Street, San Juan just after 5 p.m. Police sources said Charles-Bissoon, who on October 6 was condemned to hang for the 2005 murder of Colin De Landro, had allegedly made arrangements with a pirogue owner in Chaguaramas to travel to Venezuela.

Officers said they cordoned off the San Juan area, following intelligence gathered by the Crime and Gang Intelligence Unit.

During the exercise Charles-Bissoon, it is alleged, tried to distract the lawmen by making several calls to E-999 telling them that the escaped prisoner was seen in another area.

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