GSU Commander Speaks Out on the Gino Peck Case

vlcsnap-2014-01-31-19h18m23s102The arrest and conviction of 22 year veteran Police Corporal Gino Peck, has loaned much public scrutiny on the Gang Suppression Unit.

It was the GSU in January of 2012 that conducted a search at Peck’s home, which led to the discovery of a number of unlicensed and prohibited ammunition. A

lbeit reports that the incident should have first been dealt with internally, Peck was charged for possession and convicted on 27, January. He was spared jail time and fined $600.

Following his conviction, Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie stated to reporters that the Department is saddened by the manner in which the decision to proceed with criminal charges against Corporal Peck was made in January 2012, as the department is confident that it could have been properly dealt with through its own internal disciplinary process.

vlcsnap-2014-02-03-20h35m37s77Unfortunately, said Whylie, the department was not given the opportunity to handle this matter as they have customarily done.  It has been a highly publicized case, with a slew of accusations thrown against the GSU that Peck was vindictively singled out and targeted.

Commander of the GSU, Marco Vidal has been quiet throughout the ordeal, but today, following the conclusion of  the case on Friday, Vidal issued a public statement on the matter. The release recaps the GSU’s participation, stating that the search conducted at the residence of Gino Peck on the 21st of January 2012 was an intelligence-led operation which had been discussed with, and then sanctioned by, the then Commissioner of Police.

After those charges had been laid, directive was given to abort the proceedings.  But by that time the matter, Vidal says, was out of their hands.

He also spoke particularly to the accusations against the unit:

“The suggestion that the case against Peck was motivated by some personal vendetta is preposterous.  My interaction with Peck during the course of our careers has been at best minimal. This, however, seems, of late, to be the cry of anyone who finds himself on the wrong end of the law, regardless of how remote or incredible the association.”

Commander Vidal asserts that the mandate of the Belize Police Department is to prevent and detect crime and to bring offenders to justice and all officers swear to do so without fear. The release continues

 “At the GSU, we act on intelligence and not “TIPS” as is being suggested – our information is investigated and verified before it is acted upon. It gives us no pleasure to charge an officer sworn, as we are, to uphold the law, but for us, an offender is an offender whether he wears a uniform or not.”

As it relates to the turnout of the case, his command says “We are satisfied that justice has been served in that he was convicted of those charges.  Sentencing is an exercise for the Courts, but we discussed this case as a Unit and were of the view that no useful purpose would have been served in Peck being committed to prison. We did not see why though, he should not have faced a trial, especially since he was never made to face disciplinary charges.” 

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