Oscar Bartholomew Inquest still on

Three police officers have concluded giving evidence into the Coroner’s Inquest into the December 2011 death of former La Tante, St. David resident, Oscar Bartholomew.

Five police officers were implicated by the island’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Christopher Nelson in connection with the death of Bartholomew, a Grenadian-born naturalised Canadian citizen.

The hearing that is taking place before the Coroner in the District, Magistrate Teddy St. Louis, is drawing close to an end.

In a sitting, which took place last week Friday at the St. David’s Magistrate Court, Police Constable 675 Shaun Garness, who is attached to the Fire Department at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) was called to testify.

Police Constables 649 Edward Gibson and 748 Kenton Hazzard have already provided the court with their side of the story.

Police Constable 237 Ruddy Felix, who was not present at last week Friday’s sitting due to an illness and Rural Constable, Wendell Sylvester are yet to take the stand.

Garness, who has been with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) for the last 19 years took approximately two and a half hours to give his recollection of what transpired on the fateful day when the 29-year-old Bartholomew lost his life.

The St. Mark’s resident has retained the services of attorney-at-law Peter David to assist him.

Garness was cross-examined by Rural Constable Sylvester, who was unrepresented and attorney-at-law, Dr. Francis Alexis, QC, Counsel for 649 Gibson.

Sylvester, Garness and Hazzard were all represented by Attorney David.

However, the attorney informed the court last week Friday that he had advised Sylvester to retain another  counsel due to what he described as a “conflict of interest” between clients.

Back in 2012, the 5 officers were charged with Manslaughter after they were suspected of beating Bartholomew into a fatal coma.

The altercation occurred on December 26, 2011, (Boxing Day), after Bartholomew bear-hugged a plainclothes policewoman, who he allegedly mistook for a long time friend.

The Coroner’s Inquiry was ordered following a March 2013 order by High Court Judge, Justice Septimus Rudd, which squashed the Manslaughter charges against the officers.

The judge ruled that there should be a Coroner’s Inquest in keeping with Section (9) of the pre-Constitutional Coroner’s Act.

The officers who were suspended were reinstated into the police force.

DPP Nelson, QC has filed an appeal with the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal into Justice Rudd’s judgment.

The Coroner’s Inquest, which commenced in April 2013, is expected to determine the circumstances under which Bartholomew died, where he died, whether it was by accident or an act of violence.

The inquest has been adjourned to May 19.

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