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Five policemen facing charges

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Five policemen were yesterday facing charges after they were held following allegations made against them. In the first case, four policemen were yesterday positively identified by 18-year-old Jameson John, who reported that seven police officers had doused him with a flammable liquid before setting him on fire at the Princes Town Police Station. The four, including a corporal, were among seven arrested in connection with the incident on Christmas Eve. Today, the other three officers are expected to be placed on identification parades, police sources said. John, of Moruga, had reported the incident to both the police and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA). Investigations by the Professional Standards Bureau of the police service led to the detention of the seven, including a corporal, on Wednesday.


The officers, who were all attached to the Princes Town station, were initially supposed to be put on the ID parades on Thursday. John and his mother Sherma Atwater, accompanied by their attorney Petronella Basdeo, went to the station around 10.30 am to participate. But the parades were postponed because the police could not find enough people to make up the numbers in the line-up. Police sources said yesterday that four of the officers were placed on separate identification parades at the station and were positively identified. The investigation was launched after John suffered burns while in custody at the Princes Town station on December 24. He was taken from the station to the San Fernando General Hospital, where he was treated for burns to his torso, leg and genital area. The police claimed John’s injuries were caused when he spilt methylated spirits on his clothing while tending to a foot wound at his home and later, when he was passing by lighted scented candles at the station, his clothing caught fire. John’s mother denied their claim, saying her son told her he was only wearing underpants when the police poured a flammable liquid on him and set him alight.


The officers are being held at the Central Police Station. Sgt Deodath Seepersad of the Professional Standards Bureau is continuing investigations. In the other case, a 30-year-old police constable attached to the Southern Division remained in custody up to last night after he was arrested on rape charges. Police declined to give details about the incident and the suspect, but the Guardian understands the officer was arrested on Thursday after a report from a boy’s parent. The report alleged that the officer sexually assaulted the minor some time this year. 
After the child was examined by a doctor, South Western Division police arrested the suspect and took him to the Siparia station for questioning. Police confirmed the arrest and said an investigation was still continuing and a file would be sent to the DPP’s office soon.


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