Police Officer charged with gambling

A Police Officer who once had the responsibility of driving High Court Judge, Justice Francis Cumberbatch has been accused of violating the law that he pledged to uphold.

Constable Sampson Forte, of Mamma Cannes, St. Andrew’s is accused of engaging in illegal gambling last week Wednesday at Pomme Rose in St. David’s.

The 40-year old Policeman was taken into custody after allegedly caught in the company of Rondel Hagley, a 37-year old bus conductor, and Joseph Harford, 52-year old farmer, both of Pomme Rose.

A police squad reportedly cracked down on them during an operation.

All three suspects pleaded not guilty to the charge that was read to them by Magistrate Karen Noel at the St. David’s Magistrate’s Court last week Friday.

Police Prosecutor, Corporal Kenneth Fortune did not object to a bail application made by Defense Counsel Peter David.

However, Cpl Fortune requested that conditions be attached to the bail but that was met with strong opposition by David who gave the court early signal that he has a lot to say about the case.

The Defense Counsel questioned why the three accused men were not given bail instantly from the time they were charged rather than having them brought to court two days after when the penalty for the alleged offense is minimal on the law books.

If found guilty the accused men can be ordered to pay a maximum fine of $1,500 or be imprisoned for six months.

David pointed out that should the men plead guilty they are given a one-third discount which means that the maximum fine they can pay is $1,000.

He accused the police of going down a slippery slope adding that it is an abuse of authority to have failed to offer bail to his clients from the Police Station.

Each of the accused was offered bail in the sum of $1,500 each with one surety by Magistrate Noel who also ordered that they report to the St. David’s Police Station every Monday and Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

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