Review of baton rape case may be done by next week

–Police Complaints Chairman

Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) retired Justice Cecil Kennard has said that he is expecting to conclude reviewing the police file on the Colwyn Harding baton rape investigation by next Wednesday.

Harding has accused a police constable of ramming a condom-covered baton up his anus and later physically assaulting him last November.

Contacted yesterday, Kennard said that there was a lot of information in the file and a lot of additional statements and that he was hoping to conclude the file by next week.

After Kennard is done with the file, it will be returned to the police, who in turn will then forward it to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for her to make recommendations on possible charges.

In an earlier interview, Kennard had expressed his disappointment that the findings of a Jamaican doctor were not included in the file that is before him.

Colwyn Harding
Colwyn Harding

Harding underwent two private examinations, one at a private hospital here and the other in Jamaica, and the conclusion from both was that a foreign object had been inserted into his anus.

Kennard said that he will be requesting the report of the Jamaican doctor’s findings, while questioning why the information was being submitted in pieces.

Harding’s story was never made public until January. According to his mother, she had informed senior officials that her son had been sexually assaulted and the complaint was handled at the Brickdam Police Station, but nothing was done. Following the publication of Harding’s plight – at the time he was hospitalised in the George-town Hospital where a hernia operation had been performed on him – the matter was immediately handed over to the Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

After making recommendations, the file was sent to Kennard and later the DPP. However, the DPP sent it back to the police stating that there was need for additional investigations.

Observers have expressed concern at the length of time that the matter has been under investigation.

The implicated rank, who was at the time of the alleged assault stationed at the Timehri Police Station, was placed under close arrest before being allowed to resume normal duties at another location. Several ranks from the station were also transferred as a result of the allegations.

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