Two cops charged over alleged burning of teen in Sparendaam station

More than a month after 19-year-old Junior Thornton’s hands were allegedly set alight in the Sparendaam Police Station, two cops yesterday appeared in court to answer separate charges.

According to a police press release, Inspector of Police, Dexter Thornton has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and Constable Earwin Forrester has been charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm. They appeared at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Sueann Lovell.

Inspector Thornton was placed on $100,000 bail and Constable Forrester was placed on $125,000 bail.

Inspector Dexter Thornton (left) and Constable Earwin Forrester (right) heading into the Sparendam Police Station moments after they made their first court appearance.
Inspector Dexter Thornton (left) and Constable Earwin Forrester (right) heading into the Sparendam Police Station moments after they made their first court appearance.

They are to return to court on August 18, 2014.

Thornton, of Lot 1 Eastville Housing Scheme, Annandale, East Coast Demerara was allegedly burnt between May 25 and May 27 while he was in custody at the Sparendaam station.

The teenager also complained that he was denied medical attention and food while he was in police custody.

He had told Stabroek News at the hospital that lawmen soaked his hands with methylated spirits before lighting them on fire and then kept him in the lock-ups for three days before taking him to the hospital.

The teen had explained that he was walking his dogs in his neighbourhood when he was approached by police officers. He said that the officers accused him of wandering and asked him to get into the police pick-up.

However, he said he refused and he was grabbed and thrown into the tray of the vehicle.

Later the same day, he said, he was taken to the back of the police station, where one of the officers threw methylated spirits on his hands. With the help of other police officers, one of the officers started a fire and burnt his soaked hands.

There is an allegation that in an attempt to get Thornton to forego legal action a relative was paid $100,000.

Shortly after the matter was made public, the police announced that an internal probe was being conducted. One of the officers who was allegedly involved in the incident was transferred to the Canine Unit, while another police officer was placed under close arrest.

After the police completed their leg of the investigation the file was forward to the Police Complaints Authority for recommendations and then to the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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