Rats in the police exhibit room
From the Courts
October 4, 2019
Rats in the police exhibit room

There are rats in the police exhibit room, a fact which came to light this Monday after an officer under cross examination admitted that an envelope containing a Marijuana sample was bitten by one.

Under extensive cross examination by defense attorney Grant Connell, a Corporal in the narcotics unit who was giving evidence before the Serious Offences Court admitted this.

Connell had noticed some information which suggested that the nine envelopes containing samples from nine packages of cannabis present in the courtroom had been changed.

The officer said this was so and that the previous nine envelopes were also present in the courtroom. She said that among these nine, one had been bitten by a rat.

Connell suggested that it was a very big rat, and asked how the officer knew that it was a rat.

The officer answered that the problem had been noticed, and that rat mess was in the room.

The lawyer asked how long rats were eating drugs out there, but he was told by the officer that she could not answer that.

Connell then went on to make the point that by not saying this in her main evidence she was misleading the magistrate.

Later, in re-examination by Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche, the Corporal was able to show the original envelopes to the court, including the one that had been bitten.

The envelope shown seemed to have been bitten more than once.

Connell objected to the original nine envelopes being tendered to the court on the point that they were at variance with the evidence given in chief, but this was overruled by the magistrate who stated that it is not in variance.

At the end of the case, when Connell was making his submission to the magistrate, he noted that, on the issue of the rat, he almost could not believe what he was hearing. He said that the evidence room should be impenetrable to rats or the elements. He testified to having seen officers sweeping out rat mess before. Further, he posited that there are missing samples, and those tendered are at variance with evidence in chief.

Delplesche countered that the prosecution had produced a certificate of analysis for the drug from the lab. He said that when blood samples are taken, they don’t ever return to the court, but for completeness the sample of the drug is returned. He said what the court has to look at is the analysis of the substance, and they have that.

However, the prosecutor did admit there were inconsistencies in the evidence given by another two officers in the case who had been responsible for the actual arrest. This had come out under cross examination by Connell.

The chief magistrate said that from the start of the case bells were ringing in her head in relation to the evidence of the two officers from the Rapid Response Unit involved in the arrest.

Therefore, the case was dismissed and Josiah Clarke, said to have had 2,296g of marijuana in his possession in Rose Bank on November 6, 2018, was relieved of the legal burden.