The once-feared chief bodyguard of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has found himself again in trouble with the law.
Frederick “Balla” Noel was arrested by Police in Grenville on Saturday and charged with a number of offences including resisting arrest and causing damage to property.
A police source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that there was drama in the Eastern city as “Balla” locked himself inside his bus for nearly an hour and refused to surrender himself to a team of police officers who was armed with a warrant to arrest and imprison him for failing to pay a court fine.
He spoke of the defiant “Balla” backing into a parked vehicle and causing some damage to the car as he tried to get away from the police officers.
The warrant arose from a court case in which Balla failed to pay EC$3000.00 in compensation to a retired Inspector of Police, Anthony Welsh who had taken legal action against the former bodyguard to the Prime Minister for assault and threatening to harm him in St. George’s.
The feared Balla allegedly showed up once in court for the matter but refused to attend at least five other sittings before Chief Magistrate, Tamara Gill.
The source said the Chief Magistrate eventually heard the matter and gave Balla until last October to pay the compensation but he did not comply with the court order.
According to the police official, the retried Insp. Welsh approached the court for Balla to be imprisoned for not paying the money to him and Chief Magistrate Gill agreed.
Insp. Welsh who has given close to 40 years of service to the island, last served as the Sergeant-at-arms in the Houses of Parliament.
The source told this newspaper that a warrant to commit Balla to the Richmond Hill prison was issued by the court to the police but for some strange reason it was not executed.
An annoyed and angry Welsh reportedly complained to Commissioner of Police, Winston James and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frank Redhead about the failure of the lawmen to execute the warrant on Balla who had reached the rank of Corporal with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
In speaking to THE NEW TODAY, Insp Welsh said he got the impression from the police that they were reluctant to go after Balla due to his association with Prime Minister Mitchell.
Balla had lost his job with the police force after a court found him guilty in connection with an incident in which he had shot a man in a lover’s quarrel with a woman.
At the time of the incident Balla was considered as the Number One bodyguard to Prime Minister Mitchell. After the shooting incident, he allegedly called Jamaican attorney, Hugh Wildman who was serving as Special Prosecutor for the Mitchell government to seek advice on how to handle the matter.
One local newspaper had quoted Balla at one time as saying that he loved Prime Minister Mitchell to the extent that he was prepared to “take a bullet for him” if anyone attempted to shoot or kill the Grenadian leader.
Saturday’s episode started when a police party with the committal warrant spotted Balla in Grenville and approached him.
He said the wanted man was cornered in a Hollywood movie-style encounter. Balla locked himself in the bus for nearly one-hour and the former bodyguard of Prime Minister Mitchell defied the orders of the police officers to surrender himself into their custody.
He spoke of the wanted man making a move to speed away from the area resulting in the lawmen shooting three of the tyres on the bus.
He said that one of the sons of Balla came on the scene and tried to plead with his father to surrender to the police.
He stated that the son had a spare key to the vehicle and opened one of the doors to allow the arresting officers to get at his father.
Balla is said to have held on tightly to the steering wheel of the vehicle as he continued to resist arrest.
However, he was eventually subdued by the police officers who were forced to call for re-enforcement and officers of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) swooped down on the scene.
A handcuffed Balla reportedly threw himself onto the ground several times and kept shouting and crying, “Police brutality” as he was led away in the presence of a large crowd that had gathered to witness the incident.
An eyewitness on the scene told this newspaper that the lawmen acted professionally in the matter and that there was no manhandling of Balla.
The arrested ex-police officer was taken to the Grenville police station and within one hour the $3000.00 in compensation due to Insp. Welsh was paid.
However, Balla was not released from custody as fresh charges were slapped on him by the police including resisting arrest and damage to property in relation to the car that he ran into as he tried to drive away from the police officers who tried to execute on him the committal order to the Richmond Hill prison.
The police official said it is likely that additional charges would be laid in the coming days on the former chief bodyguard to Prime Minister Mitchell.
Bail in the sum of $2500.00 was posted and the former Corporal of Police was released from custody.
In recent months, Balla has not been seen providing security detail service to Prime Minister Mitchell as some top officials of the ruling party grew increasingly concerned that the temperamental ex-body guard was causing a great degree of embarrassment for the Grenadian leader.