Constable Kenroy Martin, left, and Sergeant Smith. (Photo: Facebook)

The orderly room proceedings against two police officers over an alleged comment to “storm” the office of the Prime Minister have been postponed.

Lawyer Israel Bruce, who is representing the officers, Sergeant Brenton Smith, head of Police Welfare Association, and his fellow executive member, Police Constable Kenroy Martin, told iWitness News that the hearing did not take place on Wednesday, as scheduled.

Smith faces five charges, namely breaching routing force order, engaging in conduct unbecoming of a sergeant of police and two counts of mutinous behaviour.

Martin has been charged with breaching routine force order and engaging in conduct unbecoming of a police constable.

“There was essentially no orderly room proceedings today in the truest sense,” Bruce told iWitness News on Wednesday.

He said that as far as he is concerned, he was advised that the Orderly Room hearing was supposed to have taken place at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Bruce said that both Smith and Martin were ready for 10 a.m.

“I saw [Assistant Commissioner of Police] Frankie Joseph, who indicated that he was the hearing officer for the orderly room and indicated that ASP (Assistant Superintendent of Police) Nigel Butcher would be the prosecuting officer.”

Lawyer Israel Bruce is defending the accused police officers. (iWN file photo)

Bruce said he had sent a letter to the police asking them to disclose the information that they were relying on to support the charges against the officers.

“This (Wednesday) morning, I got a letter to tell me some nonsense that the internal hearing is not a criminal offence and so they are not governed by the criminal procedure,” Bruce told iWitness News.

“I guess that is their basis for not wanting to disclose whatever information they have to disclose. And then they referred me to some case. I spent some time reading the case; I have not completed it, but I didn’t get anything that the case had any analogy to do with police orderly and whether you are not entitled to disclosure if you are going before an orderly.”

Bruce said he then asked Joseph what, therefore, gives him authority as hearing officer and Butcher as prosecutor.

“Because if he says it is the Magistrate’s Court Act, which is the Magistrate Act that gives that jurisdiction, then, quite naturally, the issue of disclosure has to be an issue.

“I asked him that question, he said to me, ‘Counsel, see you at 2.’

“So I told him that he’s not seeing me at 2 because they told me come at 10 and they must decide by themselves it’s not 10 anymore it’s now 2? They don’t control my programme. So I did not go back at 2 o’clock.”

Bruce said he knows that Kay Bacchus-Baptiste is also working on the matter and she went there at 2 p.m.

Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste has joined the defence team. (iWN file photo)

Bacchus Baptiste told iWitness News that she had written to Commissioner of Police Renald Hadaway telling him that she had just been engaged on the matter and had not been briefed.

She said this is when the police chief adjourned the proceedings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

She said that after some further discussion the matter was adjourned to Sept. 25.

Bruce, however, told iWitness News that he will not be available for that date because he will be in the British Virgin Islands doing a trial in the High Court there.

“So I will communicate to them that if anything, they are looking at late October or possibly early November,” Bruce said.

The charges arising from a WhatsApp conversation among the executive of the Police Welfare Association in July in which they discuss strategies to get the police high command and the government to respond to the needs of police officers.

In the voice notes, the speakers complained about the absence of a fridge and a stove at a police station and the failure of the police chief to find out whether police officers riding on the back of police vehicles are insured.

One of the speakers said the association has also asked for a leave committee to be set up.

“A month have (sic) elapsed. He asked for a month to find out with the insurance company if we are covered. A month have (sic) elapsed and he has not done anything. Well, I am going to write him strongly, I am going to copy it to the Minister of National Security and we ought to — one of the things I was thinking today, that we must be so angry that we must storm the Prime Minister’s Office, all executive members, no authority. We are not asking anybody to go there,” the male said in the voice note that seems to have ended abruptly.

4 replies on “Hearing of ‘storm’ PM’s office charges against cops adjourned”

  1. Oh, these guys look like real killers! Incidents like this make me think the authorities in SVG are drinking the same “tainted” water that the politicians in Washington DC are drinking. The SVG government must also be run by a bunch of buffoons for this matter to even go to court and cost a few hundred thousand of taxpayers money.

    1. Instead this should highlight the total ineffectiveness of the SVG Government: drowning in unworkable bureaucracy, arrogance, ignorance and laziness. All governments in every jurisdiction I have ever lived are constantly seeking improvements. Instead, those that want to make positive changes are punished. Has our PM in all these years ever done anything to improve this system?…not unless it increases his power and control such as the Cybercrime bill. It is what he calls “”Good Governance”, or “Love the people”.

  2. Augustus Carr says:

    Every Police Force has a set of administrative guidelines that govern disciplinary proceedings/Orderly Room. Generally, Orderly Room are conducted in the same manner as a magistrates court. The only difference is that the witnesses are not required to swear as stipulated in th administrative guidelines.These administrative guidelines are set out in the form of Standing Orders issued by the Commissioner of Police. The Commissioner, therefore, has delegated authority by law to make Standing Orders for the general administration, direction, and functioning of the Police Force including discipline. Additionally, the Police Act sets out various disciplinary offenses. In some Forces, these offenses can be minor breaches, which are tried internally or more serious offences which can be tried criminally

    In this particular case, it is my view that the Police Force Officers might be charge with discreditable conduct. My impression is that the Police high command wants to make an example by suppressing free speech and may have chosen discreditable conduct because it is a dismissal charge. This case appears to be a witch hunt. It infringes on the Officers right of freedom of expression afforded under our Constitution. The Police high command are historically known for disregarding Officers welfare. It is clear that there is a failure in the Police high command to adequately address welfare concerns. I am not surprised the Officers contemplated going to the Prime Minister.

    One of the problems I have with Police Forces like ours is that it is lost in time; it still operates on a Colonial premise whereby persons in authority some how believe they are above the law and are not obligated to follow procedure. This is evident in the explanation given by the Commissioner relating to this disciplinary matter, seemingly not wanting to disclose the evidence in the case to the defense. It points to a degree of over arching arrogance in the Police Force as was recently evident in the firearm case in which the Commissioner inappropriately displayed the firearms on television without them being properly packaged and the chain of custody correctly recorded. These procedures are necessary as in the case of disclosure for the fair administration of justice. My advice to any Police Officer is to follow your procedures and you would win 90 percent of your cases.

    Disclosure has become a very important feature of Modern jurisprudence in Commonwealth countries. Essentially, the prosecution whether in an internal tribunal or criminal matter must disclose the evidence being presented . The seriousness of this matter makes disclosure even more important. In this particularly case the prosecution must disclose the voice note, the charge sheet with the particulars of the offense, witness statements and any statements made by accuse persons. This appears to be a travesty. Let’s see how plays out.

  3. Everyman is a king says:

    This is crazy nonsense. You cannot charge someone for a comment. Ralph PM you should be arrested for not opening the financial books about the airport. And all the other things you are hiding from the citizens of Svg. They need to see all the financial dealings PM Ralph are doing.

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