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COP FINED 2 DAYS PAY

...after pleading guilty to turning away naked rape victim from police station

By Akile Simon

ONE of three police officers assigned to the Morvant Police Station, who are before a disciplinary tribunal on charges of neglect of duty, has pleaded guilty. In what is an historic ruling, the guilty officer has been fined two days pay, approximately $520, for this neglect.

The officer, a corporal, entered a guilty plea before the disciplinary tribunal headed by Snr Supt Christopher Lewis, head of the North Eastern Division, at the Morvant Police Station two weeks ago. All fines from disciplinary tribunals are placed into the Police Award Fund.

The matter will come up again for hearing on Thursday, for mention, where a trial date for the sergeant and constable is expected to be set. Statements were obtained by the investigator Supt Nanan from the rape victim, her mother and others including the three officers.

A source told the Express that there was overwhelming evidence which led Insp Sheeraz Ali to lay charges against the three police officers in the absence of their reports.

The charges against the officers stemmed from an incident, reported exclusively in the Express, in which a 23-year-old rape victim claimed she was turned away from the Morvant Police Station when she showed up without clothing for help on November 14 last year.

The woman claimed she was further “emotionally raped” by police, when she went to the station to seek help and was instead turned away because she was naked.

Last December, the three officers were served with notices by Supt Baldeo Nanan that they were being investigated in connection with the incident.

After Nanan completed his probe, Insp Ali charged the sergeant with failing to supervise officers under his charge while the corporal and constable were charged with neglect of duty.

Contacted last night a senior source confirmed that this case is historic in that it is the first time a police officer has been charged with turning away a rape victim from a police station. It was also explained that the quantum of the fine is at the discretion of the investigating officer.

In the Express interview, the victim said she went to a casino on Tragarete Road, Port of Spain, where she stayed until 2 a.m.

“I was on Tragarete Road waiting for a taxi and a black car came beeping its horn and because it was so late, I got in and didn’t think anything of the two men sitting in front. The car started heading to Port of Spain (downtown) but when it took a bend into Edward Street, I got scared, I told the driver I will drop off right here,” said the woman.

“The man who was sitting on the passenger side in front then jumped in the back seat and grabbed my neck and tell me to keep my head down. He held me down and asked me a set of questions, where I living, how much money I have in the bank. He said if do anything he will stab me up. He kept telling me over and over to hush,” said the woman.

The woman said the driver and his accomplice took her to the Lady Young Road, Morvant, in a dark trace which used to lead to a radio station.

“They forced me out of the car, stripped me naked and the driver took me to the back of the car and raped me against the bumper. He also raped me on the ground, I was thrown on the dirt and stones and he raped me again,” she said adding that the rain was falling at the time.

“They kept telling me that they will stab me up because I saw their faces and they have to kill me,” she said.

She said after the driver raped her, the second man was also about to rape her when they saw a car approaching.

The woman said she ran towards the car and the occupants of that vehicle–a man and his girlfriend – who took her to the Morvant Police Station.

The woman accused the police of causing her additional emotional trauma after they turned her way because she was naked. PCA chairman Gillian Lucky said the fact that there was action taken in the matter sends a strong message that this kind of conduct will not be accepted in an organisation that is mandated to protect and serve with pride.

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