November 9, 2012
McDowall’s fate still uncertain – Commissioner of Police

Commissioner of Police, Keith Miller says he is still considering whether or not Police Constable Rohan McDowall should remain in the constabulary, following his conviction on a manslaughter charge.{{more}}

Miller, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, said he had not yet made up his mind about the fate of McDowall, who on Monday, November 5, was reprimanded and discharged after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

McDowall, who is attached the Special Services Unit (SSU), spent nearly two years on remand, after he was charged with causing the death of his former colleague, PC 494 Kingsley John on August 7, 2010 at the Biabou Police Station.

During McDowall’s trial, it was revealed that both men were acting out a scenario about how one would react if attacked by a civilian. The deceased was armed with a knife, while McDowall was armed with an M4 assault rifle, from which a shot was fired, killing John. McDowall’s lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Browne, told the court that John’s death was an accident.

If reinstated, McDowall will not be the only policeman with a criminal record to serve in the police force.

On April 19, 2011, Constables Hadley Ballantyne and Osrick James and Corporal Kasanki Quow returned to active duty after being convicted on February 2, 2010, on charges of assault and causing actual bodily harm to Jemark Jackson, then 15, back in 2010.

The decision by Miller to reinstate the officers was made possible under Section 25, of the Police Act, which states that “… no member of the Force, who has been convicted of any crime or offence by [a court of competent jurisdiction], shall be liable to punishment for the same offence under this Act, otherwise than by a total loss of pay during imprisonment, by reduction, by dismissal or by the loss of such good conduct badges and good conduct pay as he may possess.” Defending his decision to reinstate the officers, Miller in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on May 3, 2011, said: “I looked at the past history of the men, their conduct, their ability to work, their loyalty to the organisation, their respectfulness and character on and off the job.”