Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.
By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A HEARING date for the appeal of the Coroner Court’s ruling on Aaron Rolle’s death in police custody as unlawful will come “shortly”, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said yesterday.
Mrs Maynard-Gibson confirmed that the Office of the Attorney General has requested a date be set for the hearing of the appeal in connection with Rolle’s death two years ago. She said the director of public prosecutions has advised her that a date for the hearing would be issued shortly.
Rolle, 20, died at the Southern Police Station on February 8, 2013, just hours after he was taken into custody for questioning in connection with an armed robbery and escape. A pathologist report concluded that he died from haemorrhaging and a ruptured intestine, caused by blunt force trauma to the chest.
On May 7, 2013, the jury in a Coroner’s Court inquest found Rolle’s death to be an “unlawful” killing.
However, last July, the family members of the officers in question, Police Constable 2126 Akiel Smith and Police Constable 2648 Carl Smith, appealed the coroner’s decision.
“The appeal has not been acted upon, and we have already asked the court, because they have not urged the court to set down a date,” Mrs Maynard-Gibson said at her office yesterday. “The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) advises me that we expect to hear shortly on a date on which that appeal will be heard.”
In June 2013, Mrs Maynard-Gibson said her office was working diligently on Rolle’s case. She told The Tribune then that her team had received the court’s recommendations and was “working as hard as we can to make sure the public feels expedition”.
A month ago, Mrs Maynard-Gibson said a full report, including recommendations from Department of Public Prosecutions officials regarding Rolle’s death, would be submitted to her office within that month.
The report was supposed to suggest whether prosecutors intended to press charges against the officers involved in the incident.
However, as confirmed by Mrs Maynard-Gibson yesterday, no action has been taken by the Attorney General’s Office.
While no charges have been brought against the two officers involved, however, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said in January that they are “still interdicted from duty”.
Last month, Christina Galanos, the lawyer representing Rolle’s family, said the family questions whether there will ever be closure with the case. Ms Galanos told The Tribune that she has been unable to answer their concerns.
When the inquest closed into Rolle’s death, Acting Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez recommended the file be reviewed to determine whether action should be taken against the officers. She also suggested that it be forwarded to Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade to conduct disciplinary proceedings against the men.
There was also a recommendation that the police force implement surveillance in interrogations rooms, with the control of cameras and recordings monitored by a separate department at police headquarters or elsewhere.