Sunday, January 21, 2018

Burn victim in court today

TEENAGER Jamerson John is expected to be present in the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court today when seven police officers appear before a magistrate for allegedly setting fire to him while in their custody last year. 

John’s mother, Sherma Atwater, said she was informed by their attorney Petronilla Basdeo that he ought to be present in court when the seven officers appear in the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court. 

Six male officers and a female officer were jointly charged with misbehaviour in public office by unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on John, 18, on December 24, 2013, while in police custody. 

They were granted a total of $350,000 bail by Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington when they first appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. 

It is alleged that police officers stripped John, 18, to his underpants, doused him with methylated spirits and set him alight after he refused to confess to robbing two people and breaking into a house near his Moruga home. John was hospitalised for burns to his torso, leg and genital area. 

Attorney Richard Valere appeared for the six male police officers and attorney Sasha Paula Singh represented the lone female officer. 

Atwater said yesterday her son said nothing when he was told the police officers were charged and appeared in court. 

“He heard they were charged and he sat down and he was in silence but he is coming to terms with it”, said Atwater.  “He cannot read so I had to read out the newspaper report. He was just very quiet and he went into a zone. I told him to just pray and everything will be okay”, said the mother. 

John and two other teenagers were charged with house breaking and robbery after he was discharged from hospital. The matters are pending in the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court.

• Editor’s Note: This story corrects the number of police officers charged. It is seven and not six as reported yesterday. The error is regretted. 

\\\ The accused police officers are:

• Cpl Roger Reid, 45, a father of three of Siparia

• PC  Bryan Dookie, 34, of Barrackpore

• PC  Andre Watson, 34, a father of four of Couva

*PC Simon Marshall, 27, of Couva

*PC Pradeep Ramdhin, 26, of Rio Claro

*PC  Atiba Teesdale, 22, of Princes Town

*WPC  Alena Ambrally, 29, of Barrackpore. 

The charges were laid  by Sgt Seepersad of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Professional Standards Bureau.