Sunday, February 18, 2018

...PCA’s Lucky: Clothing is key

 HEAD of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Gillian Lucky yesterday said that the clothing Jamerson John was wearing is of key importance in determining where the truth lies into how the teen sustained burns to his body.

John has claimed that he was stripped to his underpants, doused with a flammable liquid and set afire while at Princes Town Police Station after he refused to admit to being involved in robbing two people.

The police said John had methylated spirits on his clothing before he was taken in for questioning and his clothing caught afire when he touched scented candles at the station.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Lucky said: “One has to remember when determining these matters it is important that, in addition to witness statements, to have independent, scientific evidence that can speak to where the truth lies and in this case the circumstances in which John’s clothes caught on fire... 

“Very critical in this matter is the custody and preservation of exhibits which will be of great assistance in determining the circumstances in which this citizen was set alight or to determine how the clothes of this person became alight.”

Lucky also said the scented candles will be another important exhibit in the case.

“We don’t prejudge any issue, but we do recognise the importance of preserving the evidence to make sure there is no contamination of evidence, so evidence does not simply disappear...timeliness is important.”

Lucky said she spoke to the Commissioner of Police and indicated that this was a matter to be deemed as “high priority”.

She said the PCA also wrote the commissioner last Friday and another letter was sent yesterday. 

She said this letter stated that “the PCA wants a copy of the police investigation file in this matter, not at the end of the investigation only, but right now to determine what is the status of the police investigation”.

Lucky said an investigator from the PCA went to the Princes Town station to determine whether there were closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, with a view to obtaining the relevant footage.

But, she said, the investigator was told the building was not equipped with such cameras. 

Lucky said the time had come for interviews to be recorded so that when allegations are made it is easy to look at the footage, which would speak to what would have occurred.

John appeared before the court yesterday facing charges of breaking and entering and robbery. He was placed on $5,000 own bail.

Lucky said once a complaint is the subject matter of a judicial complaint then the PCA cannot further investigate the matter. 

But, she said, although this is so, nothing prevents the authority from exercising its function to monitor and audit.