Prosecutor defends officer’s  action to shoot fleeing suspect
From the Courts
January 31, 2020

Prosecutor defends officer’s action to shoot fleeing suspect

Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche has defended the actions of a police officer in shooting a fleeing defendant from behind, noting that the officer acted lawfully in doing so.

The prosecutor’s comments were made during final submissions on Friday January 24, in a firearm and ammunition possession trial.

The evidence of the prosecution was that after a 9mm pistol was found in the posession of 36 year old Layou resident Tambu Patrick’s at his home on April 11, 2018, along with 17 rounds of illegal ammunition, and an ankle brace, Patrick tried to run.

While trying to flee from the house, Patrick is said to have tussled with two police officers and was subsequently shot in the hip. “Jackson(female police officer) explained to you your honour how she was assaulted, so did Williams(a male policeman stationed at the front door). Stay(police officer) said when he see him(Patrick) coming, he was frightened. Williams didn’t allow him to get to Stay, he bring him down. That’s our case,” the prosecutor concluded.

Patrick was shot in the hip by a shot gun, and the evidence by the police officers was that a knife was found on his person when he was taken to the hospital.

“There is a notion that if you shoot somebody from behind the shooter is wrong, that is a notion, and that notion is wrong,” Delplesche stated..

He said that the law allows an officer to use reasonable force to affect an arrest.

The senior prosecutor also quoted from the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms section of the constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines(SVG) to butress his case.

The prosecutor also added that police officers are trained to shoot at the “broadest part” but the officer shot at the “smallest part”, referring to evidence from the officer that he had aimed his shotgun before he shot.

“The section does not say that the police must go about and shoot people willy nilly, that’s not what it says,” Delplesche continued, “But if in the course of a duty you are armed by the authorities, and you have to use the firearm that was issued to you, you use it reasonably and that is what Williams did.”

Defense lawyer, Grant Connell, pointed out that Patrick was never charged for escaping lawful custody.

Connell said Patrick was immediately charged for possession of the gun, but it wasn’t until months afterwards that he was given all the other charges.

“These charges are very popular you know, assaulting police officers, damage to property, they are what buttress and backup whenever a citizen is injured,” the lawyer remarked.

He was referring to the fact that Patrick also received two charges of assauot of a police officer and damage of a bullet proof vest.
Connell stated that the actions of the police were unnecessary.