From the Courts
July 21, 2017
Police officer slapped with another charge

The police officer charged with theft of $75,000 from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Postal Corporation has been slapped with another charge and remanded in police custody for an additional week.

When Ettian Charles reappeared before the court on Wednesday, this time before magistrate Bertie Pompey at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, he was charged that on July 7, 2017 at Kingstown, being employed in the public service and being charged with the performance of duty by virtue of such employment, he agreed to receive property for himself or any other person on account of anything omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duty of office as a policeman.

Also the initial charge of theft of EC$75,000 in cash was amended to read EC$5,486.96 in cheques, one uninterrupted power supply, valued at EC$9,000, one external battery pack, valued at EC$3,000 and $56,634.50 in cash; a new total of EC$74,121.46.

On July 12, when the officer of over 10 years appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias, he was remanded for seven days, pending a bail review.

At that time, Charles was charged that on July 7 at Kingstown, he entered the Postal Corporation building as a trespasser and stole EC$75,000, the property of the Postal Corporation, contrary to section 217,1b of the criminal code. He was further charged with conspiracy to commit burglary contrary to section 310, 1a of the criminal code.

During mitigation on Wednesday, defence lawyer Carlos James, for the second consecutive week, told the court his client is the main breadwinner in his family and also caretaker of his elderly, blind father.

He also told the court that his client was on duty elsewhere at the time of the burglary.

However, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche told the court that an accused person does not have to be at the scene of a crime to be convicted of said crime. Delpesche went on to cite cases in which accused persons who were later convicted of murder were not at the scene.

He then noted that the father of the accused being blind is not a reasonable ground for bail, adding that the conspiracy case is a very complex one.

The senior prosecutor told the court that the investigators are not just “scratching the surface” of the case, but digging into it and unearthing facts pertinent to his case. He further stated that the investigators need time and if the policeman is granted bail he may hinder their investigations.

Pompey denied the police officer bail, stating that although he took into account Charles’ right to bail, justice must prevail. He said that he is of the opinion that another week on remand was not unreasonable.

Charles will reappear before the Serious Offences Court next Wednesday for a second bail review.(AS)