Grant Connell, lawyer for Dwaine Sandy, who police had said was “wanted” in connection with the June 13 robbery and shooting in Kingstown, is demanding an apology on behalf to his client.
Connell is also asking for a recall of the police release that had also said Sandy, a former national footballer, was “armed and dangerous”.
The lawyer’s demand, in a Sept. 3 letter to acting Commissioner of Police, Michael Charles, came as Sandy was denied entry into Trinidad on Sept. 2.
Sandy had gone to Trinidad to pursue a possible contract with a football club there.
According to Connell’s letter, Trinidadian Authority denied him entry into the country, saying he is “wanted” and is on a “watch list” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Sandy, a former national footballer, came into the national spotlight again hours after a female postal worker was robbed of EC$100,000 in cash.
A police officer was also shot during the robbery and police issued a poster later that day saying that Sandy was wanted in connection with the crimes and should be considered armed and dangerous.
Sandy returned to St. Vincent from Grenada four days later, accompanied by his lawyer – Connell.
He has maintained his innocence and said he was in Grenada when the crime was committed.
Police took him into custody and released him two days later — when the 48 hours that they could keep someone without charge expired.
They later re-arrested him — for “safekeeping” — hours after his initial release and subsequently released him — again without charge.
Connell, in his letter to Charles, who took over from Keith Miller, who was police chief when the incident occurred, said, “To date, there has been no corrective release from this same course which wrongfully judged Mr. Sandy, ‘Armed and Dangerous’ and ‘WANTED’.
“I am sure you will agree that the actions by the officer of the Commissioner of Police has caused significant damage to my client’s character and the ramifications of the thought process, or lack thereof, by your predecessor has begun to manifest itself…”
He explained what transpired when Sandy arrived in Trinidad and Tobago.
“He was denied entry to that country because, according to the authorities there, he is ‘WANTED’ and is on the ‘watch list’ for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They informed him that they (The Trinidad Authorities) were yet to be informed by your good office or the Ministry of National Security of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the contrary and until such is done he would be denied entry…
“To say the least, the life of this young, talented Vincentian has been significantly tarnished due to the COP’s utter rejection of common sense and blatant disregard for basic, professional standards of policing, when the office of the Commissioner of Police pronounced a man wanted when there was not an inkling of evidence to justify such drastic measures,” Connell said.
“The substantial matter with regard to the defamation of my client’s character would be addressed in due course. In the interim, this letter serves as a demand on your good office to issue a public apology to Mr. Sandy admitting that your officer erred and that the release that deemed him ‘wanted’ is retracted. This apology and release must be made via the same means on and through which the aforementioned release was made and published in the region and Interpol,” he wrote.
“Although what transpired in Trinidad an Tobago on his last visit is a manifestation of the irreparable damage that was cause to my client’s character, the suggested corrective release from you office as aforementioned, would do some damage limitation and also show good faith on the part of the office which caused the assassination of my client’s character.”
The letter to the acting police chief also included a copy of Sandy’s criminal record, which says that Sandy’s name does not appear in the nation’s criminal records.
“Having seen same, I trust you could concur that the good man is entitled to the kind courtesies enjoyed under our constitution as a Vincentian Citizen. His record clearly shows that he has acted within the ambits of the law of this Blessed Land,” Connell further wrote.
“In light of the fact that a fellow Vincentian has had to succumb to such a degrading chronology of events, and the role which your good office played in subjecting him to same, I trust you will give this matter your undivided attention. I anticipate your meticulous approach in address the issue with a great degree of urgency; this should be a catalyst in the process of Mr. Sandy’s attempt to rebuild his character and life,” the lawyer further said.
The letter was copied to Minister of National Security, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; Attorney General, Judith Jones-Morgan; Director of Public Prosecution, Colin William; Minister of Sports and Culture, Cecil “Ces” McKie; Chief Immigration Officer, Stanford Hamilton; and
Julius Edward of Malabar Football Club, Trinidad and Tobago.
Sandy had said earlier this year that he would like a meeting with Gonsalves to discuss his arrest.
Gonsalves said he saw no reason for such a meeting.