Suspended Corporal of Police, Joel Horsford, who was charged in 2006 for stealing monies from the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of stealing by reason of employment and not guilty to another 8 counts.
Cpl. Horsford decided to make the plea as part of a bargaining with State Prosecutors in the trial that started April 29 before female High Court Judge, Madam Justice Paula Gilford and an 11-member Jury at High Court Number 2, The Carenage, St. George’s.
The accused who is represented by Barristers-at-law Anslem Clouden and Dr. Francis Alexis (QC) was put on trial for allegedly stealing approximately EC$122, 944.93 from the Police Force (RGPF) during the period 2003 and 2005.
The judge agreed to renew the bail condition for the junior police officer in the sum of EC$100, 000 pending his sentence date reserved for July 21.
Horsford was initially granted bail in the sum of EC$750,000.00 with
At the time of the alleged theft, he was employed as the Officer in Charge of the Finance/Accounts Department of RGPF and has been serving in that capacity since 1993.
After charges were laid, Horsford was suspended from active duties and placed on half month’s pay pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.
According to Clouden, the Police Corporal was originally charged with “30 counts” of stealing, but he “accepted an offer from the Crown to reduce the charges to 18 counts to make the case more manageable”.
Speaking with reporters, Clouden pointed to the “complexity of the case itself” recalling that the trial commenced before Madam Justice Clare Henry who is no longer serving in the jurisdiction and the case had to be “aborted on technical grounds.”
“This was the reason why the case took so long…initially this would have taken about 3 months, …. so in the interest of cutting cost to the State, the indictment was made more manageable,” he said.
The apprehension of Horsford came as a result of an investigation ordered by Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James into the operations of the Finance/Accounts Department at Police Headquarters, Fort George.
The Commissioner instructed the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to probe into the operations of the entire department with a special focus on the areas of procurement and accounts payable, inclusive of salaries, commissions and allowances.
The Accounts/Finance Department is responsible for all the financial operations of RGPF and falls under the Administrative arm of the force.
This newspaper understands that the investigation was triggered by alleged inconsistencies with the payment of salaries and allowances of some police officers.
When the case commenced before the courts in 2006, Clouden was adamant that Horsford alone could not have pulled off this act and as such those in hiding must come forward and suggested that the case will unearth a great many hidden secrets within the police force.
The attorney dropped strong that a number of senior police officers were involved in a scheme in which the names of persons who had left the force many years ago were still actively on the payroll of RGPF and collecting money from the State.