Cops on assault charges after baton rape probe
-other ranks to face departmental proceedings
By Dacia Whaul and Desilon Daniels
After nearly six months of investigations into the alleged police abuse of detainee Colwyn Harding, two constables Devin Singh and Rosel Tilbury-Douglas were yesterday afternoon charged with assault and released on bail.
Although the policeman had been accused of inserting a condom-covered baton into Harding’s anus, Singh was only charged with two counts of assault, including a joint charge with Tilbury-Douglas and his lawyer dismissed the rape allegation as “scandalous.” Singh and Tilbury-Douglas both denied the charges and were released on $200,000 and $100,000 bail, respectively, following their arraignment before the Chief Magistrate in Georgetown.
The allegations by Harding, who said he was sexually assaulted during his arrest at a house at Timehri and physically assaulted later at the Timehri Police Station last November, triggered new public outcry over police abuses while the length of the investigation has also been a source of concern. In addition to the two constables who have been charged, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) yesterday announced that departmental charges will also be brought against some other ranks involved in the matter.
The charges were read against Singh and Tilbury-Douglas shortly after 2pm yesterday, after they were sneaked into the court through the rear gateway usually used by magistrates and court workers. Their arraignment lasted only ten minutes but the constables took two hours to exit the courtroom as they sought to avoid journalists who were staking out the complex. Singh later fled the compound with journalists in hot pursuit.
It is alleged that Singh, of Lot 125 Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara and Tilbury-Douglas, 26, of Alliance Road, Timehri, East Bank Demerara, assaulted Harding during the period, November 1 to November 13, 2013, at Timehri Police Station, causing actual bodily harm. Singh was also separately charged with unlawfully assaulting Harding.