NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe, QC.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe said the officers on duty when a woman was indecently assaulted last week by a man with whom she was forced to share a cell, will be “held to account” while stressing that his ministry has no interest whatsoever “in defending or protecting slack people”.
Mr Munroe spoke after a 32-year-old man was charged on Monday with the indecent assault of a 25-year-old woman after he masturbated in her presence. The woman said the accused also threatened to rape her while the two were detained in a holding cell at the East Street South Police Station on October 21.
The accused man pleaded guilty to the indecent assault charge during his arraignment before Magistrate Kendra Kelly and was remanded in custody for a psychiatric evaluation.
Yesterday, Mr Munroe expressed grave concern about the incident, saying he was troubled when he first heard the news over the weekend.
He also questioned how officers could have allowed a man to be put in a cell with a woman without conducting the proper checks among other procedures.
“The commissioner sent me a WhatsApp to brief me on that when it happened. I’m troubled by that on a number of levels because of existing police policy,” Mr Munroe said before going to a Cabinet meeting.
“Firstly I would like to know if a female was in a cell from what we gathered and was sleeping with a blanket, one would think that there’s a detention record for her in her name and unless she has a name that appears to be a man’s name, it should’ve been clear that there’s a female in custody.
“How you get to put a male in a cell with a female? I would like to hear that explanation and then I know from practice that when you’re in custody, there’s a detention record where the police is supposed to check on you periodically over the night.
“I would like to see the detention record to see if this officer has recorded time and time again that he checked on these two prisoners and they had no complaints. If that has occurred, then that would be another problem that the officer has to explain.”
Mr Munroe said his ministry does not take such incidents lightly and added he found it astonishing that it was even allowed to happen.
“The system will hold whoever is responsible to account and these things must be explained,” he said. “Firstly, it is astounding that it could happen and secondly, if it was a detention officer and he is not honest in what he writes on the detention record, that is even more problematic and so none of us have any issues (or) any interest in defending or protecting slack people.”