Lawyer Vynnette Frederick leaves the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court after Tuesday’s hearing. (iWN photo)

A lawyer has called for an investigation into the alleged beating, by police, of four men charged in connection with the alleged gunpoint robbery of the wife of a Member of Parliament and other crimes, including murder, last September.

At the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, when a preliminary inquiry was slated to begin, Vynnette Frederick asked for an indication of “the injuries that her client sustained upon the first appearance when he came to court”.

Frederick was holding papers for Michael Wyllie, another lawyer in their chambers, who is representing Glenville Harry, 34, self-employed, of Vermont.

Harry, along with suspended police officer, Ettian Charles, 34, Elroy Rogers, a 26-year-old labourer of New Montrose, and Rocuan Robinson, 29, a mechanic, of Campden Park, are charged that on Sept. 15, at Cedars, being armed with a gun and a knife, they robbed Reisha Twana Browne-Caesar, of a number of items valued EC$10,350.50 and other documents.

Charles was suspended from duty in July 2017 when he was slapped with burglary and corruption in public office charges.

Charles, Harry, Hanson and 36-year-old Jerome Ollivierre, of Mayreau, were charged that between Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, at Arnos Vale, they murdered Rodney George, a 50-year-old security guard of Victoria Village.

They men are also charged that between the same dates they burglarised G.E.C. Auto Building/Tyre Shop at Arnos Vale.

Hanson, Charles and Harry are also charged with the armed robbery of Lisa Wilson, of Brighton, and wounding of Grafton McDowall of Brighton.

Charles also faces a charge of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

Last year, when they were arraigned in connection with the robbery of the minister’s wife, some of the men had puffy faces and bloodshot eyes.

During his second court appearance, Charles told the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court that Commissioner of Police Colin John was among a group of officers who inflicted a severe beating on him after was arrested on Sept. 15.

From left: Police Constable Ettian Charles, Glenville Harry, Rocuan Robinson, Olrick “Chucky” Hanson, and Elroy Rogers.

John, a lawyer and former prosecutor, denied Charles’ claim, telling iWitness News, “… I never struck him. I never saw anyone strike him. I never saw him with any injury, and no one complained to me about him being struck.”

Frederick raised the issue during Tuesday’s court appearance.

“He does not look today like how he looked when he first came to court,” Frederick said, adding that the state had a responsibility to disclose what happened to her client.

She said that if the state doesn’t know it should “call those who know and let’s start at the start, because if we are going to drag this out, let’s do it right from the get-go.

“And let me see how long it will take you to disclose what we are going to PI to talk about… Let’s start first with why they were beaten up and who beat them up. Who ordered that and whether the court made any note of the fact that they came to this court beaten up,” the lawyer said, as she and counsel Grant Connell and Israel Bruce, made submissions to the court on the issue of disclosure ahead of a preliminary inquiry.

Frederick said if it is that the court would adjourn so that the prosecution could take instruction to find out whether or not disclosure can happen, she can bring the case law to the court that indicates “how justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done”.

The lawyer said she would spend 10 years, if necessary, “on this matter to do it. I ain’t getting tired. I am never tired to see justice done.”

However, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that he doesn’t know about anyone getting beaten up. 

“I am not a policeman, I was not at any police station, I don’t know who beat who or if anybody beat anyone,” said Delplesche, a former police officer.

The prosecutor said that the parties who are involved would be able to say if they were beaten and by whom.

“This prosecutor goes from his office to his home. Not any police station. So, I don’t know about any beating. That’s all I can say,” he said.

Magistrate Rickie Burnett will give a decision on July 16 about whether he will order disclosure in the case — the first preliminary inquiry over which he is presiding.

Last November, in response to a question by an opposition lawmakers, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said Charles’ police abuse case will not be investigated.

7 replies on “Lawyer wants police beating claim investigated”

  1. Rawlston Pompey says:

    PICTURE-THOUSAND WORDS-BRUTAL BEATING

    Suspicious of ‘…Coercion’ to elicit confessions or admissions.’

    Judges Rules forbids this ‘…Brutalizing Tactic.’

    While this picture does not say who inflicted blows, the ‘…accused’ physical facial condition’ clearly shows prima facie evidence of a ‘…Brutal Beating.’

    The question are, if the Commissioner of Police is accused of complicity,

    (I) ‘…Who shall cause an Inquiry; and

    (ii) …Who will be the inquirers?

    Certainly not the police;

    Better advocate a ‘…Commission of Inquiry’ into the conduct of those involved in the investigation and arrests, or into the ‘…behavior of the Police Force itself.’

  2. Rawlston Pompey says:

    POLICE BEATING-NOT ISSUE BEFORE THE COURT

    Except to argue ‘…coercion’ if the accused have made ‘…Confessions or Admission,’ whereby the Magistrate may order himself to hold a ‘…Voir Dire’ to test the voluntariness of such Confessions or Admissions,’ neither the Magistrate nor the prosecutor has any business entertaining arguments over who beat or did not beat the accused.

    That is not what they stand charged before the Court.

    The Senior prosecutor is quite correct.

    The three lawyers know that if there are issues with ‘…Police Brutality,’ that is for the ‘…Civil Court.’

    Thus, if instructed by the accused/clients, they could institute litigious proceedings against the police officers, including the Commissioner of Police, that they can identify as ‘…inflicting injuries to their eyes and faces.’

    This is outside the jurisdiction of, and within the knowledge of Senior Magistrate Ricky Burnett.

    The attorneys also know this. So why seek to delay justice?

    1. Jolly Green says:

      Mr Pompey are you not yourself an ex COP. Did you ever beat people or oversee the beating of people?

  3. Rawlston Pompey says:

    SELF-QUESTIONS

    The questions that the Senior Magistrate shall now ask himself are;

    (I) ‘…Who controls the Court, the Magistrate or the Lawyers?

    (ii) …Who make determinations, the Lawyers or the Magistrate?

    If he answers that it is the Magistrate, then he shall ‘…firmly stamped his Magisterial authority.’

    1. Jolly Green says:

      JB really, if you don’t know who rules the court by now you must be a little lost in the wilderness.

      The Courts and Judiciary in Saint Vincent are ruled and controlled by a politician and everyone who reads this knows who I refer to.

      The police have been beating people in the interview room ever since the PACE act was abolished in SVG, who do you think did that?

      The police are a bunch of cowards who on a one to one with any of those men would run a mile.

      They are known to obtain admissions of guilt from people by beating the shit out of them.

      These are serious human rights matters. They are also tactics used in Venezuela.

  4. You know what they deserve a good plan arse. They should never afforded due process. I pronounced them guilty before I see the facts. Bleeding hearts liberals will not agree. However, I pronounced them guilty. They are gunslingers and I have no sympathy for them. Let the do hard labour . Call it tough love.

  5. it is obvious what happened to these suspects in police custody. Notwithstanding the fact that Saboto Caesar is possibly the most respected ULP Politician, and there are other very good ULP and NDP politicians as well as a few rotten eggs. These men at that time were only suspects. In a real democracy this shameful and cowardly behavior of the police would allow these men to walk free. I would like to know who the stupid dummy is who ordered or allowed and maybe participated in the beatings.
    The Vincentian Police do this all the time, because they get away with it. They did it to me and I went to the paper and had it printed. In fact they did all sorts of things contrary to what is allowed. The officer in charge got a promotion and Officer of the Year Award. Before going to the newspaper I went to the highest officer in charge of that jurisdiction. Instead of even considering to do anything disciplinary to those officers involved, he himself tried to provoke me in his office, to include saying I was lying to him. I am a former Law Enforcement Officer myself from the USA and have many awards especially of good conduct. There is obviously vast corruption in the Saint Vincent Police Force. After talking to many police since that time there are many that are very frustrated because in most cases the worst and most corrupt are those that advance in the force. If you do not agree with playing “the game” you will suffer for it. No wonder the people of Saint Vincent have little respect for thier police. How do we know that at the top of the force it is not being run by those just as bad as the worst on the street.
    The Magistrate has possibly one of the most difficult decisions since his appointment. Does he give a “green light” to the continued beating by our police and risk having the police set up an in-force ridicule of him “coddling” the criminals or does he support the democratic process, uphold the jurisdiction of the court deciding, based on evidence who is or who is not guilty.
    I would make a decision that would send a clear message to crooked cowardly cops that bring shame upon the country and the good officers that are kept down because they shy away from this behavior. I may gain even more respect for this magistrate and his courage or lose much respect for his lack thereof.

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