Suspended police officer, Joel Horsford will have to wait another three months to know his fate in a fraud-related case brought against him since 2006.
The Corporal of Police pleaded guilty earlier this year to multiple counts of stealing by reason of employment and was due to be sentenced on Tuesday by female High Court Judge, Madam Justice Paula Gilford at High Court Number 2, on the Carenage, St. George’s.
Horsford and his legal team appeared before the court but were told that it had to be put back to October 21 because of the absence of a report to be submitted by the Ministry of Social Services for consideration in the court before handing down the sentence.
This newspaper understands that officials from the Ministry of Social Services have been complaining for a long time now that they are understaffed and overworked.
The low-ranking officer was initially charged in 2006 for stealing monies from the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of stealing by reason of employment and not guilty to another 8 counts as part of a bargaining with State Prosecutors in the trial that started April 29 before Justice Gilford and an 11-member Jury.
Horsford is currently on EC$100, 000 bail for the alleged theft of the monies amounting to approximately EC$122, 944.93.
At the time of the alleged theft, Cpl. Horsford was employed as the Officer in Charge of the Finance/Accounts Department of RGPF and was serving in that capacity since 1993.
After the charges were laid, he was suspended from active duties and placed on half month’s pay pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.
According to his lawyer, Barrister-at-Law Anselm Clouden, who is receiving assistance from his colleague Dr. Francis Alexis QC, Horsford was initially charged with “30 counts” of stealing, but “accepted an offer from the Crown Counsel to reduce the charges to 18 counts to make the case more manageable.”
Speaking with THE NEW TODAY Tuesday afternoon, Clouden said the legal team would be requesting a non-custodial sentence for Horsford when the sentencing date comes around in October.
“He is willing to do restitution,” which the Barrister-at-law noted, would be the “main flank of submissions” to be made to the court on Horsford’s behalf.
“We are prepared to have him pay the monies back,” he added.
The apprehension of Horsford came as a result of an investigation ordered by the then 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 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 hints 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.