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January 29, 2010
Officers can’t explain why they weren’t truthful to superior

Two of the three police officers charged with assaulting Jemark Jackson nearly a year and half ago admitted under oath that they lied in statements given to their superior.{{more}}

In nearly identical statements, given three days apart, Osrick James and Hadley Ballantyne both said that they were dispatched to the St Martin’s Secondary School in relation to a burglary matter and not to the Dr JP Eustace Memorial Secondary School as was stated in their testimony in court.

In their evidence in court, both men stated that they had gone to the Dr JP Eustace Memorial in relation to a fight that was going on there on November 17, 2008. However, Jackson, who testified last week, told the court that the officers told him they were arresting him because he had threatened someone. Jackson also indicated that he was then questioned about a burglary at Cell Word.

Jackson said that nothing was ever said to him by the officers about being involved in a fight.

Both Ballanytne and James, along with Caskani Quow, returned to the court on January 21 and 22 at the Kingstown Magistrates’ Court, jointly charged with causing actual bodily harm to Jemark Jackson on November 17, 2008.

Reading parts of Ballantyne’s statement given on November 24, 2008, Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams, indicated that the officer of six years said in his report that he was dispatched to St Martin’s Secondary and while there, PC 180 Lynch, the driver of the police vehicle, told him that Jemark Jackson and Kemron McDowall were at the Dr JP Eustace Memorial Secondary. Further in the statement, Ballantyne said that on arrival at the school, they arrested Jackson, 15, and McDowall as suspects in a theft matter.

Williams asked: “Why did you give a false report to the Assistant Superintendent (ASP) in charge? Ballantyne replied: “I don’t have an explanation”.

Ballanytne told the court that the first report was just “a random report, and today, this is under oath”.

Continuing the stiff cross-examination, the DPP also pointed out that Ballantyne mentioned in his statement that he never saw anyone hit Jackson on November 18. The DPP said it was quite puzzling that Ballanytne could write that in his statement since Jemark made no complaints of any alleged assault against the three policemen until December 9, 2008, at the Police Public Relations Department. “There was no allegation at that time, so how come you talking about beating?” the DPP chuckled.

Ballanytne then said in his testimony that he learnt of the complaint of alleged assault against him from a newspaper article some time in 2009. He was, however, unable to say which newspaper and identify the date.

When James took the stand to testify before the packed court of police officers from the Criminal Investigations Department, he, too, admitted lying in his statement given on November 21, 2008. The officer of 11 years experience also said that he was dispatched to the St Martin’s Secondary School in relation to a burglary and was never ordered to go to the Dr JP Eustace Memorial Secondary to look for Jackson and his friend Kemron McDowall.

The prosecution and defence, led by veteran attorney Arthur Williams, were expected to address the court today for conclusion on the matter.