PUP complains over Mark King’s court case result

vlcsnap-2013-06-19-19h04m39s153People get off on criminal charges every day, but when that person is a high ranking Government official, it doesn’t often get swept under the rug. Since charges against Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Mark King were dropped earlier this week, there has  been some backlash coming from the community. King was slapped with aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct after a brawl that occurred outside a casino in February of this year. But this past Tuesday, when the vlcsnap-2013-06-19-19h02m19s17matter was brought before the court, one officer decided not to press charges, while the other three witnesses failed to identify King from the witness stand. And with that the case fell apart and subsequently King walked out of court a free man. Yesterday, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie spoke to the media and made it clear that what was done in Court by the officer is a breach of the public trust and he will ensure that all measures are taken to ensure that such breach is remedied.

Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police:
vlcsnap-2013-06-19-19h11m45s57It is my view that that officer was a police officer when this incident occurred, he was not an ordinary citizen and he had no authority to withdraw that case or to refuse to testify. It’s a matter I view very seriously and as soon as the investigation is concluded we’ll be taking the appropriate action against him.
There’s an investigation ongoing, and we will do what we need to do. We have a trust and a service to provide to the community and when police officers do things that we believe breaches that trust, it erodes their trust and confidence in us and myself as the head will do all that is necessary to ensure that that breach is remedied. 

Well, Police announced late this evening that Constable #1021 Nelson Ramos has been hit with disciplinary charges by the Professional Standards Branch and interdicted from duty as part of the investigation ordered by the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of charges against Minister of State for Human Development Mark King.  The case against Constable Ramos will be next heard on June 26, 2013 by Regional Commander Senior Superintendent Joseph Myvette. Meanwhile, imagesCAEBHXK8the People’s United Party (PUP) has condemned the result of the case, stating in a press release issued today that “It gives the impression of Government interference with the judiciary and the police to save one of its own. This must stop!” The PUP says it is calling on “The relevant bodies, including the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, to take all required actions to correct the shame that circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the charges against Hon. Mark King has caused to the justice system.”
In an interview with PLUS News this afternoon at Independence Hall, attorney Anthony Sylvestre told us that King should be held to a higher standard because of his office.

Anthony Sylvestre – Attorney:
vlcsnap-2013-06-20-19h12m02s188A sitting Member of the National Assembly is held to a higher standard than an ordinary citizen.  In addition to the fact that he’s sworn to an oath to obey all the laws of our country, he’s a representative of the people. And so he, by virtue of those facts, he has a higher standard.  Whilst the charges were dismissed, out here in the general public people still believe as though he was culpable, and so he’ll have to speak for himself in addressing that matter.
Certainly, he has a higher standard, and based on what was seen on the news, he [fell] short of that standard.

Mr Sylvestre also says that the PUP believes that the outcome of the case only strengthens public opinion that there is no justice to be had in this country.

Anthony Sylvestre – Attorney:
Here it is that you have two Police Officers who were sworn to uphold the law, one in on instance flatly refused to give testimony and the other suggesting that he is unable to actually identify Mark King who is a well known individual, who is not only a member of the House, a representative, but he is a Minister of Government and given his portfolio as a Minister responsible for gang, he would certainly have interactions and dealings with the Police Department. It does cause for concern because as all of us are quite aware of, we are living in a time where the state of law and order has deteriorated and it doesn’t do well and it doesn’t hold well for the country when particularly a younger generation see events like these unfolding in our courts.

To correct that impression, it calls on the relevant authorities to see to it that the guilty parties are punished.

Anthony Sylvestre – Attorney:
As lawyer we have a phrase, we say Res ipsa loquitur. It is Latin for the thing speaks for itself. None of us knows what may have motivated the Police Officers in that given testimony and having selective amnesia in the other case, but clearly, putting all things together, you are left with a very distasteful impression of the system. It is not only with respect to the criminal justice system, but with respect to governance, as well you have a minister of Government who is involved and so the microscope on this case certainly would have been more focused and the general public certainly having regard to all of that and that backdrop, must feel upset.

Mr Sylvestre also made note of the dragging investigation over the Noh Mul site destruction and called for more immediate action on that front as well.

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