The police constable accused of raping detainee Colwyn Harding during an arrest is back on active duty, according to Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, who yesterday said investigators are re-interviewing witnesses and looking into the findings by medical personnel in the case.
Speaking to reporters following a presentation on the police force’s progress in implementing recommendations contained in the 10-year-old Disciplined Forces Commission of Inquiry report, Persaud revealed that the police rank accused of the rape was no longer under close arrest.
He said that at the moment the rank is on open-arrest, which means that he is on duty. He was, however, unsure of the rank’s exact location at the time he spoke with reporters.
All liberty is taken away from ranks under close arrest, Persaud explained, while noting that in such circumstances ranks are not kept in the same lock-ups as members of the public who have been detained.
In January, Harding, 23, went public with an allegation that the police constable raped him with a baton while arresting him at a house at Timehri last November. He also alleged that he was subjected to brutal beatings at the hands of the rank and others at the Timehri Police Station, where he was detained.
Following the allegation, the rank accused of pushing the condom covered baton up his anus was placed under close arrest, while several other ranks from the Timehri Police Station were transferred to other stations within the division.
An internal investigation was launched after the allegations were made public but the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last week returned the case file to police and advised that further investigations be conducted.
Persaud yesterday confirmed that further investigations were underway. Asked about the areas for further investigations, he said investigators have to re-interview some witnesses and look into the findings from the private hospital where Harding was treated after his release from the Georgetown Public Hospital, among other things.
A report from a private doctor was handed over to the DPP by Harding’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes, who has said independent medical examinations have found that the man’s rectum was damaged as a result of the insertion of a foreign object.
Persaud said that the medical report from the private doctor who examined Harding after he was discharged from the Georgetown Hospital, has not complicated or delayed the police’s investigation.
“I don’t think it impacted us. I don’t know if it impacts the advice that the DPP gives. It doesn’t seem so,” he said, before adding that the additional investigations would also lead back to the Georgetown Hospital.
At the time Harding’s allegations were made public, he was hospitalised, after being charged and imprisoned due to his inability to post bail. He suffered damage to his intestines, which—it is being claimed—occurred as a result of the assaults committed upon him.
The Georgetown Hospital has said that while its doctors were treating Harding they saw no sign of the alleged rape nor were they told anything about it.
He has since undergone a medical examination at private facilities both here and in Jamaica, which was made possible through the contributions of Guyanese living locally and abroad. He is scheduled to return to the island in a few weeks to undergo a final surgery to repair the damage to his intestines.