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Why Did Officers Fail To Appear?

The “Cabbage Beach Ten” outside court with their attorneys, Branville McCartney and Don Saunders, Tall Pines MP, after their case was discharged by a magistrate. Photo: Nico Scavella

The “Cabbage Beach Ten” outside court with their attorneys, Branville McCartney and Don Saunders, Tall Pines MP, after their case was discharged by a magistrate. Photo: Nico Scavella

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FORMER Assistant Commissioner Paul Thompson.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Assistant Commissioner Paul Thompson yesterday called on the Royal Bahamas Police Force to give an account of why two of its officers did not show for court proceedings on Monday related to the Cabbage Beach access case.

Mr Thompson told The Tribune he was “shocked” to read that officers tasked with providing critical intel for the execution of justice would negate their responsibilities, “whether by accident or deliberate effort”.

On Monday, two officers expected to testify were no-shows during a hearing before Magistrate Ambrose Armbrister. One of the officers had previously testified in the matter.

The police prosecutor in the case subsequently made an application to withdraw the charges against the 10 persons who faced charges in connection with the destruction of a fence blocking access to Cabbage Beach during a protest in 2016.

Magistrate Armbrister ultimately opted to not acquit the group for legal reasons, but discharged them instead. He said while only two indictable charges against one or more in the group can be brought back against them, it is unlikely that will happen based on the fact the virtual complainant in the matter never showed up to court.

Referencing the ruling yesterday, Mr Thompson said it was a tragedy that such an important case met its conclusion the way it did.

He urged the senior command of the RBPF to make clear the reasons given by the two officers involved, adding that if the reasons are not clear, the officers should be made to face an internal tribunal like they did in the past.

“Hear me carefully, the system is in place to ensure that these officers are aware of any case that they are involved in. That was the case when I was a part of the force, and I am sure that it is still the case,” he told The Tribune.

“When you have a case, prosecutors notify your station officer, who then tells you about the case. Additionally, there is a board in all stations and departments where that senior officer would write it out. You, whatever the name of the officer is, has been called to court, whatever it is, for case, whatever it is.

“The officers in this case had to know the date and the location. That is why we need an explanation for these absences.”

He added: “It looks bad. We cannot undermine the court like this. This was a waste of time and resources for this case to come this far and end the way it did.”

When asked by The Tribune how matters like this were handled when he was a member of the RBPF, Mr Thompson said: “These men would be made answer and made to do so very quickly.”

He continued: “A tribunal would be called by the commissioner of police. . . It was that simple. You would face a disciplinary board to explain why you didn’t attend.”

Mr Thompson said there were cases in which officers have been punished with fines and even the loss of days off.

Mr Thompson also recalled a case in which an officer was punished by a judge for not showing up to court. He said in that case, the officer was made to sit in on court proceedings for an entire day.

“Like I said, this was considered a serious matter. It should still be,” he told The Tribune.

The ten discharged Monday are expected to seek “substantial damages” from the government for being “maliciously prosecuted” in the case, according one of their lawyers, Branville McCartney.

Comments

TheMadHatter 9 months ago

Mr. Thompson, having served in such a high position, should be well aware that the reason the officers did not appear is the exact same reason why often times we hear about cases being postponed due to "no stenographers being available".

They just happen to all get sick on the same day and no "tribunal" is ever called about that - so chillax. Dis da Bahamas.

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John 9 months ago

BAHAMIANS should not have been locked up, beaten and dehumanized in the first instance for attempting to access Bahamian beaches!! Can you imagine the fallout, internationally if one was to stop tourists from access Junkanoo Beach or ban them from going to the Fish Fry. Now you see how dumb and ignorant it sounds. To prevent Bahamians from accessing their own GOD given beaches? The police did the right thing and not continue in the persecution of their own people in the interest of foreigners who want to take possession of and control everything in the Bahamas. And the turncoat ,pea brain leaders who continue to facilitate them should be changed with treason. In fact all persons who own beach front property and abuse ttheir ownership and deny Bahamians access to the beach should have their properties seized and returned to the Bahamian people, including those who let loose guard dogs or even security officers to chase Bahamians off the beach. Time for Bahamians leaders to take their face out of the greedy foreigners backsides and let Bahamians enjoy their share of the sunshine. South Africa is taking back all the farm land the foreign imposters t’ief and returning it back to the rightful owners. It’s the people’s time!

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newcitizen 9 months ago

Oh John, you just can't help yourself with the racism and xenophobia.

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licks2 9 months ago

THIS IS EPIDEMIC AROUND THE MAGISTRATE COURTS. . .I VENTURE TO SAY THAT IF A POLICE NEED TO COME TO COURT FOR A NON-SERIOUS CASE. . .CHANCES ARE THAT 98% OF THE TIMES THEY DON'T! STANDARD PRACTICE NOW IS IF THEY DON'T SHOW UP THREE TIMES IN A ROW. . .THE CASE THROWN OUT! I REMEMBER IN THEM OLD DAYS IF THE POLICE REFUSD TO ANSWER A SUMMONS. . .THE JUDGE USED AND ARREST THEM AND TAKE THEM TO COURT. . .I GUESS THEY EEN BOTHERING WITH THEM NO MORE. . .IF THEY COME THEY COME. . .IF NOT. . .THEN NOT!

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John 9 months ago

Newcitizen: unless and until you can show me a country other than the Bahamas other than the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands that cater to foreigners more than they cater to their own and give foreigners more rights than they give their own , go play with your parents.

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Economist 9 months ago

You should read up on the way many British felt when Jamaican immigrants were given new homes while many who had been bombed out their own homes had to wait.

The Bahamas has,over the last forty years, gone out of its way to protect Bahamians.

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birdiestrachan 9 months ago

The PM did promise to wipe their records clean when he became the Government. Perhaps this is his answer.?? who knows? But now they are suing the Government A little over a million for each. should not be to bad.

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John 9 months ago

Moving forward major resorts like Atlantis, Bah Mar Albany should be made to provide unhindered beach access at each end of their properties with parking where beach visitors don’t have their cars towed. Persons who sell Beach front lost should be required to provide open (public spaces between every 10 or 12 lots and gated communities like Lyford Cay and old fort l should also provide public beaches. Better yet do like is done in many other places where the road ( with parking) runs along the beaches and everyone has full access

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bogart 9 months ago

The officers of the law just cant fail to show up.....both of them.....and in a high profile case.....and with so many people 10 persons.....and wodely published pictures in the press.....???and charge them ...and Either give the 10 people a Nolle ..or not ....or make them pay for thr fence and drop charges an call it a day.....but excuse that everyone can see through making this from sublime to ridiculuness?....how msny children nowadsys go tell the teacher the cat or dog ate their homework???

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Gotoutintime 9 months ago

People can put down the "foreigners" all they want---Just think if we had no foreign investment ( Atlantis, Baha-Mar etc) where would the average Bahamian be. Continue to bit the hand of the "foreigners" at your own peril. When the foreigners pick up and leave we will get the hell we deserve!

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sealice 9 months ago

You mean hell get's worse then where we are at already?

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sealice 9 months ago

Figured it was because the PLP was in no way shape or form going to prosecute 10 potential PLP voters.....

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