By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
THE Supreme Court has halted disciplinary proceedings against a senior officer in Exuma who was accused last year of badly bruising a woman’s face.
Inspector Christian Leary allegedly punched two women, with the aftermath of that incident going viral. Images of blood streaming from the gashed eyelid of one of the women were shared hundreds of times on social media.
Inspector Leary was interdicted and placed on half-pay weeks after the alleged offences, which took place in early August. His lawyer, Bjorn Ferguson, has sued the government on his behalf and this week the Supreme Court granted an injunction restraining the commissioner of police from continuing any disciplinary action or prosecution against the inspector related to matters concerning the judicial review application that has been filed until a determination has been made in the matter.
In an affidavit filed last year, Inspector Leary argued that Commissioner Paul Rolle, who was acting commissioner at the time, lacked jurisdiction and authority to interdict him and did so in contravention of the Police Force Act.
He said Commissioner Rolle needed to have the proper instruments to wield the power of his office and that an acting commissioner is not a substantive office holder.
He said because of his senior rank, the governor general acting in accordance with the advice of the Police Service Commission after consulting the prime minister should have exercised disciplinary control over the situation.
He said the interdiction meant he has received only one-half of his salary, causing him “undue hardship and economic loss,” including the inability to make payments on his outstanding loan at the Bahamas Law Enforcement Credit Union.
He wants the Supreme Court to order that the government compensate him for one-half of his loss of earnings since August 27 and that he be assigned police duties and receive his full salary.
Insp Leary was employed with the RBPF on July 13, 2000, according to his affidavit.
On August 5, 2019, he was stationed at the Exuma Division when he received a RBPF discipline notice and report stating that a complaint had been made at the Complaints and Corruption Branch against him and that an investigation was being conducted.
Weeks later on August 27, by way of a letter from Mr Rolle, he was suspended from police duties with effect from that date on the grounds he was charged with four “major offences”, namely two counts of use of unnecessary violence to a person in the execution of his duties; and two counts of conduct of a major nature, which is contrary to discipline, good order and guidance of the RBPF.