January 13, 2017, is the date set for the completion of the Coroner’s Inquest at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court, into the December 2011 death of Grenadian-born Canadian citizen, Oscar Bartholomew.
Last week Friday, Coroner of the district in the parish of St. David, Magistrate Teddy St. Louis called to the stand his 24th and final witness, retired Assistant Superintendant of Police Ignatius Mason, who was attached to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and was the chief investigator into Bartholomew’s death.
ASP Mason’s testimony, which was given in the presence of the 6-member jury, which is expected to return a verdict based on the evidence, surrounded statements taken from the five police officers charged with manslaughter or the offence – 649 Edward Gibson, 237 Ruddy Felix, 675 Shaun Ganness, 748 Kenton Hazzard and Rural Constable, and Wendell Sylvester.
The inquiry follows the March 2013 order by High Court Judge, Justice Septimus Rudd, to squash the charges laid against the officers and for a Coroner’s Inquest to take place in keeping with Section (9) of the pre-Constitutional Coroner’s Act.
The officers have since been reinstated into the police force and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Christopher Nelson, QC has filed an appeal with the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal into Justice Rudd’s judgment.
The Coroner’s Inquest, which commenced in April 2013, is expected to determine the circumstances under which Bartholomew died, where he died, whether it was by accident or an act of violence.
The coroner is not authorised to identify who is responsible for his death.
THE NEW TODAY understands that if the jury returns a verdict that Bartholomew died as a result of manslaughter, the officers would be indicted and the matter taken to the high court for trial before a judge and jury.
December 26 marks 5 years since Bartholomew met his unfortunate death, which happened while he was vacationing on the island with his Canadian wife.
They were reportedly travelling in a vehicle in the direction of St. Andrew, when they stopped at the St. David’s Police Station to use the restroom.
Bartholomew was allegedly beaten inside the police station by some police officers who were trying to restrain him after an encounter with a Woman Police Constable, who is said to be the daughter of one of the accused officers, 649 Edward Gibson.
Speculation is rife that the incident occurred after Bartholomew mistook the female officer for an old friend, while waiting for his wife outside the police station.