Instructions were not given to me – Caesar
August 27, 2010
Instructions were not given to me – Caesar

by Kenton X. Chance Fri, Aug 27, 2010

Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Assistant Superintendent of Police Willisford Caesar, admitted on Tuesday, August 24, that he released Constable Rohan McDowall from custody{{more}} even after he read newspaper reports that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Colin Williams, had given instructions that McDowall be charged with three criminal offences, including murder.

McDowall, an SSU officer, was on Tuesday, August 24, charged with murder, use of a firearm with intent to commit an offence, and unlawfully discharging a firearm at Kingsley John.

The charges stem from the shooting death of John, a constable also attached to the SSU.

John, who was buried last Saturday, August 21, died of a single bullet to the chest from an M4 rifle on August 7 in the dining area of the Biabou police station.

Caesar said he took Mc Dowall into custody last week Wednesday, August 18, and released him, although Ceasar had read newspaper reports that the DPP had said McDowall should be charged.

“The instructions were not given to me. …I read it in the newspaper. You are asking me that when I see an article in the newspaper that I must investigate?” he said.

SEARCHLIGHT reported on August 13 that the DPP had said McDowall would be charged with murder.

“The instructions, as reported in the newspaper, were given by the DPP. The DPP knows who he would send that instruction to. I would await that instruction. I would not go – it’s normal, you wait because it is given to somebody who is senior to me. The procedure is that it would be handed down to whoever and then it might come to me,” Caesar said.

Last week, Williams, commenting on the police’s defiance of his instructions to charge McDowall, said he believed that the police would have acted promptly if McDowall were a civilian.

“As head of the Criminal Investigations Department, I look at every case and each case with the same – for [want of] a better word – weight, the same interest. And as long as the case reaches my department, all the attention is given to that matter,” Caesar told reporters at the Central Police Station.

“I wanna make it clear to you: I got no instructions from the DPP. And I am not saying … that the DPP might not have passed his instructions,” said Caesar who is the investigating officer in the case.

“That instruction was given to a higher person than I. So I would not be able to answer why the delay,” Caesar said.

He further said the instruction were given to “my superiors, actually”. Asked if those “superiors” have names, Caesar said, “Not at this present time”.

Caesar said the standard operation of his department is to charge someone when the DPP says so.

“If the DPP says charge, then you charge, to say 2 o’clock, 1 o’clock (when the person would be actually charged), I would not be in a position to say that,” Caesar said.

Caesar said he has in the past questioned and released suspects several times before those persons are charged.

“That’s what investigation is all about.

It’s not for me to call the DPP to ask him or to call somebody and say ‘I am investigating, should I release that man?’” Caesar said.

He, however, said that never in the past had he released a suspect after being aware of media reports that the DPP had said that person should be charged with a crime.

Asked if the delay in charging McDowall was because of the ongoing investigation, Caesar said: “All I would want to say is that investigations were continuing in the matter.”

“The DPP is responsible to give directions in all criminal matters,” Caesar said, even as he said he did not “want to answer anything with respect of the DPP.”

“I cannot answer on instructions given by the DPP. What I can say to you is what I am instructed to do,” he said.

Caesar and head of the Special Services Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police Renold Hadaway, called a press briefing on Tuesday to refute comments on radio that SSU personnel had removed McDowall from CID custody during the course of the investigation.

McDowall is being remanded at the Mespotamia Police Station, a gazette prison.