The case file on the Colwyn Harding rape probe is now at the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and according to Police Commis-sioner Leroy Brumell ranks could be taken to court as early as today. Speaking to reporters after the launch of the SWAT Unit training programme yesterday, Brumell said it was recommended that disciplinary action be taken against some of the ranks under section 17:01 of the Police Act while “some would be taken to court”. He said that if the file is returned from the DPP, the accused ranks would be in court by today.
Stabroek News was reliably informed that the file was taken to the DPP sometime during the course of yesterday. When checks were made late in the afternoon, it was still there.
Based on what this newspaper has so far gathered, none of the ranks who are the subject of the investigation would be charged in relation to a rape by baton that Harding has alleged owing to a lack of evidence.
Sources close to the case had said that Harding was never examined and as a result the crucial medical evidence to support his claim is missing. This newspaper was told that there definitely will be criminal charges in relation to the physical assault of Harding as there were several witnesses who have come forward with accounts of him being beaten while in custody at the Timehri Police Station. There were no witnesses to the alleged sexual assault.
Harding has alleged that a constable rammed a condom covered baton into his rectum on November 15 last after kicking down the door to a house he was staying at in Timehri. The constable along with other ranks were at the time investigating a report of break and enter and larceny.
After Harding’s allegations were made public last month, Brumell announced that he had ordered that the division hand over the investigation to the Office of Professional Responsibility. After OPR completed its investigation, the file was sent to the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority, who sent it to the office of the Crime Chief on Wednesday. It was then dispatched to the DPP the following day.
Harding is presently in Jamaica where he is scheduled to undergo a second independent examination to ascertain the extent of his injuries, which his supporters claim were due to his assaults. The first examination which was done at a private hospital days after he was discharged from the Georgetown Hospital revealed that there was bleeding in the rectum.
After being charged with assaulting a policeman, Harding was subsequently held at the Georgetown Prisons since he was unable to post bail. On December 13 last, he was taken to the Georgetown Hospital after complaining of feeling unwell. He was examined and was returned to the prison where he collapsed several days later and had to be rushed back to the hospital. An emergency operation was done on him the following morning for what the doctors have since said was a hernia. He has, however, disputed that he had a hernia and has said that his injuries were as a result of the alleged rape.