...PCA head gives update on police killings
Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Director Gillian Lucky yesterday provided updates on four police killings which the Authority was still investigating.
These matters were the deaths of Christopher Greaves, Anil Persad, Naim Dean, and George “Ozzy” Ashby.
Before giving information on these four matters, Lucky noted she wanted the public and the TT Police Service (TTPS) to know that the PCA did not prejudge any of these incidents and it adhered at all times to the rule of natural justice and due process, with insistence on timely, thorough and transparent investigations by the police.
With respect to Christopher Greaves, who was killed on September 1, 2013, it was noted that up to January of this year, the PCA still had to make requests for reports in this incident.
“When we first heard of this shooting the PCA did visit the scene some time after and when we initially requested the file we realised that critical documents were absent, including a report from the UK body on the testing of the firearm which was allegedly seized. As there was no forensic evidence to support one version as opposed to the other, this particular piece of information was deemed critical by the PCA. To date, the PCA is not in possession of that scientific finding with respect to the firearm which was allegedly seized. Further, the statements of three of the four officers involved in this incident are dated September 6, 2013, and while some may consider (the time between the incident and the statements) acceptable, with respect to the fourth officer that was involved, that statement is dated October 1, 2014 — a time lapse of one month. A time lapse of one month cannot be considered to be immediate in accordance with the standing orders of the TTPS,” Lucky noted.
With respect to the investigations surrounding the death of Anil Persad, who was killed on May 12, 2011, Lucky noted that the PCA has had to repeatedly write to the TTPS to get information on this file.
“On January 13, 2014, the PCA sent a letter to the COP (Commissioner of Police) and highlighted this matter among several other matters waiting to get responses. We were eventually given the name of police investigator and, working from that, once again we sent a request for the investigative file and once again have not received it,” Lucky revealed.
Naim Dean was killed on April 11, this year.
Lucky noted that although the incident had taken place almost two months ago, it was only last week that a statement had been recorded by the Special Reserve Police officer who had shot the young man.
“It was almost two months after this particular incident that the officer who killed Dean did, via a statement, give a report of his version of what occurred. And not for any dramatic effect, but it was only minutes before this (press) briefing did I receive a copy of this statement and it was dated June 4 and the investigator had only received it on June 6. So I ask you all to consider that time line, bearing in mind the standing orders state for immediate reports. Clearly there are flagrant violations by certain police officers, not all, of standing officers that are meant to ensure compliance with time lines, thoroughness and fairness with investigations,” Lucky said.
George “Ozzy” Ashby
George “Ozzy” Ashby was killed on January 23, 2009.
Lucky noted that the PCA was in possession of a document which indicated that on January 7, 2010, a magistrate had ordered an inquest into this killing, up to January of this year, no inquest had been held as the relevant file had yet to reach the precincts of the court.
“The PCA took on this matter and eventually tracked down the police file and was able to speak to the investigating officer. We are able to confirm that up to early this year the file had not even been sent to the court for the inquest to begin. That is not justice,” Lucky said.