From the Courts
November 29, 2016
Police officer jailed for six months on deception charges

Police Constable Elron Lewis will spend the next six months behind bars, after he was found guilty of three counts of deception.

Lewis first appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias on March 9, 2016. Since then more than 30 charges of deception have been laid against him.{{more}}

However, when he appeared before the court last Thursday, he only answered to three of the charges, after a number of adjournments, based on the fact that he could not locate his witnesses.

Lewis’ witnesses never turned up to court and so the trial went on without them.

The 26-year-old was charged that on September 3 and September 9, 2015 at Kingstown, he by deception, dishonestly obtained EC$500 on both dates from Kenneth Peters of Lowmans Leeward, with the intention of permanently depriving him of it.

He was further charged that on November 20, 2015, he also by deception, dishonestly obtained $130 from Peters.

Lewis, who represented himself in the trial, pleaded not guilty to these charges and claimed that he borrowed the money on the first two occasions he received money from Peters, and on the third occasion, he took the money to deliver to another officer, who SEARCHLIGHT understands was identified by Lewis as an associate in the scheme.

However, Peters’ evidence stated that he had contacted Lewis to purchase licences for his father and himself.

Lewis, a Troumaca resident, was ordered to compensate Peters in the sum of EC$1,000 by May 31, 2017, or in default, he will face six months imprisonment. He was also sentenced to six months imprisonment for each charge in which he obtained $500.

He was further ordered to compensate Peters in the sum of EC$130 by May 31, 2017, or in default, four months imprisonment. He was also sentenced to four months imprisonment.

These sentences will run concurrently and Lewis has the right to appeal the sentences which were handed down by Browne-Matthias.

Although he has already received a term of imprisonment, Lewis still has 22 charges of deception to answer, which senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche indicated he wishes to try separately, based on the virtual complainants.

When Lewis first appeared before the Serious Offences Court on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, he was charged with dishonestly acquiring funds from six different people on multiple occasions.

These charges are contrary to section 233(1) of the Criminal Code, Chapter 171 of the Revised edition of the Laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines 2009.

A source familiar with the case told SEARCHLIGHT that suspicions were first aroused when a woman, who alleged that she had paid Lewis for a licence, went to Police Headquarters looking for Lewis. Not finding him there, the woman, who had been living in the United Kingdom, told another officer why she was looking for Lewis.

According to the source, when Lewis returned to headquarters, unaware that the woman had spoken to police, he denied helping her.

In a previous interview, then Commissioner of Police Michael Charles, however, said that so far, Lewis is the only officer who has been apprehended in the matter.

Adding that he is not one to speculate, the former commissioner said the investigation will reveal whether or not Lewis acted alone. (AS)