MANSLAUGHTER CASE AGAINST FIVE POLICE OFFICERS RE-INSTATED

The five Police Officers involved in the 2011 death of Grenadian-born Canadian citizen Oscar Bartholomew will most likely stand trial before a high court judge and jury.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the Court of Appeal has overturned the decision taken by Justice Septimus Rudd to quash the charges of Manslaughter brought against the five by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Christopher Nelson.

The recent ruling from the Court of Appeal now means that the charges brought against the five police officers – 649 Edward Gibson, 237 Ruddy Felix, 675 Shaun Ganness, 748 Kenton Hazzard and Rural Constable Wendell Sylvester – will be reinstated.

The ruling was handed down this week by a Panel of Court Appeal Justices at a meeting in Anguilla.

The high court judge had ruled that a Coroner’s Inquest should be held first in order to determine cause of death.

The Oscar Bartholomew incident attracted international attention, especially in Canada as it was deemed that he had died at the hands of police officers six years ago.

He was allegedly beaten into a coma by five police officers after he allegedly hugged a female officer that he had mistaken for a friend.

The incident happened on December 26, 2011, while Bartholomew was in the country visiting his family for the Christmas holiday.

The Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into his death commenced at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court in early 2012 but the defense attorneys for the accused policemen, Francis Alexis QC and Anselm Clouden made representation to the sitting Magistrate for a Coroner’s Inquest to be conducted.

However, the Magistrate allowed the PI to continue.

The matter was then taken to the High Court and Justice Rudd took the position that a Coroner’s Inquest should have been held and completed before the Police Commissioner laid charges against the officers and before the PI commenced into Bartholomew’s death.

The Preliminary Inquiry into the manslaughter charge involving the death of Bartholomew will have to resume before a sitting magistrate in St. David’s.

A legal source told this newspaper that the ruling would most likely affect the decision taken by the Commissioner of Police to re-instate the officers who were put on suspension after DPP Nelson agreed to charge them with Manslaughter.

The appeal was led for the state by Tommy Astaphan, QC and Solicitor General, Dwight Horsford while Dr. Alexis, QC and Anselm Clouden represented the police officers.

Grenada has been under scrutiny by the authorities in Canada over the pace at which the court proceedings were taking place against the five police officer.

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