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Ettian Charles

Police Constable Ettian Charles. (iWN file photo)

The police officer who has been charged with stealing EC$75,000 in cash from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Postal Corporation will have to spend one week in custody before bail is revisited.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias denied bail to the Police Constable 196 Ettian Charles when he appeared before her on Wednesday at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown.

Charles, a 31-year-old resident of Glen who is originally from Coulls Hill, is charged that on Friday, July 7, 2017, he entered the SVG Postal Corporation as a trespasser and stole EC$75,000 in cash, the property of the SVG Postal Corporation, contrary to section 217(1b) of the Criminal Code.

The officer, who has been a member of the constabulary for about a decade and is attached to Beat and Patrol, is further charged that on the same date in Kingstown, he agreed with another person that a course of conduct shall be pursued which if that agreement was carried out and in accordance with his intention would amount to an offence of burglary by the parties, contrary to Section 310 (1a) of the Criminal Code.

The charges have been laid indictably, meaning that Charles was not required to enter a plea and a preliminary inquiry will be held to determine whether the Crown has enough evidence to send the case to trial before a judge and jury in the High Court.

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Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche objected to bail being granted to Charles.

He told the court that the investigation was at “a delicate stage” and the investigator was looking for some exhibits and that there are other persons of interest to the investigation.

Delplesche said that his concern was that should the accused be granted bail, the investigation can be hindered, in terms of the recovery of the exhibits that the police are looking for.

The prosecutor praised the investigator, Detective Corporal Bion Duncan, as “a conscientious worker”, saying that the detective has purposed to recover the exhibits expeditiously and was asking for one week more to do so.

Delplesche further told the court that there is the possibility that an additional charge could be brought against the accused, adding that a final determination would be made after discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

But defence counsel, Carlos James, in response, noted that the accused is a police officer, adding that on the date of the alleged crime, Charles was on duty at the police station.

James said he was making that observation without going into the facts of the case.

He further told the court that the accused is the main breadwinner in his family and that his father is blind.

The lawyer said that having regard for the seriousness of the charges his son faces, the blind father had come to court and had surrendered to the court, as surety, a deed for a property worth some EC$237,000.

The lawyer asked that the accused man be released on bail “to continue his duties”.

James further said that he was confident that the accused man was willing to surrender himself daily to the court as part of reporting conditions.

He said that Charles was willing to surrender his travel documents, adding that he had already offered one such document — his national identification card — to the court and was willing to surrender all the others.

The magistrate, however, said that it was the very nature of some of the things highlighted by the defence counsel why the accused should not be granted bail at that point.

Browne-Matthias noted that Charles is a police officer and the serious nature of the offences is the reason why he would not be granted bail.

She, however, said that having made her comments, it was not an indication that she was prepared to have the accused on remand ad infinitum.

The magistrate ordered that Charles be remanded for one week and return to court on July 19 for bail review and the setting of a date for a preliminary inquiry.

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