A police detective attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for the past 10 years yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charge of corrupt transaction when he appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson at the Georgetown Magis-trate’s Court.
It is alleged that on February 22, 27-year-old Kevin McRae of Vigilance Public Road, East Coast Demerara, being an agent of the State, corruptly accepted and converted to his own use the sum of $50,000 from Gregson Nichols in order that the said Gregson Nichols may avoid the charges of carnal knowledge and buggery.
Attorney-at-law Winston Murray who represented the defendant made a bail application for his client on the grounds that he had no previous convictions and “as a matter of fact, on the day in question my client was at church witnessing the baptism of one of his children.”
Police Prosecutor Denise Griffith objected to bail pointing to the seriousness of the offence committed and its prevalence.
The father of two was subsequently refused bail and remanded to prison.
Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes, who stated his interest in the case as a friend of the defendant, entered an appearance in the matter after it had initially been heard by the Acting Chief Magistrate. Hughes submitted to the magistrate that she should reconsider her decision and grant bail to McRae at this point of his pre-trial liberty where he “still enjoys innocence.” Hughes made this application stating, “Madam, to keep the defendant in the Camp Street Prison will cause other prisoners to lose respect for the force and he will be a direct target of injury as it relates to his bodily and mental integrity; two key components that he will need when his trial comes.”
Hughes, in his application also stated that “the Camp Street Prison may not be the best place for the defendant since he would have testified against many prisoners and this too can have damaging repercussions.”
At the end of his submission, however, the magistrate stated that her position and decision in the case remained unchanged.
This latest arrest comes in the wake of a number of police officers appearing before the court faced with various charges.
From February 9 to 11, a total of eight policemen all pleaded not guilty to charges of demanding money with menace. Two Tactical Ser-vices Unit (TSU) constables Kelon Jack, 23, of 26 Plantain Walk (WBD) and Dennis Raphael, 22, were charged with demanding $12,000 with intent to steal from David Persaud in order to avoid prosecution for drug trafficking.
Minutes after the duo answered to their charge, a quartet of policemen also attached to the TSU was charged over a separate incident. Corporal Tyron Edwards, 38, Constable John Blake, 24, Constable Carl Ifill, 40, and Constable Jason Odonogue, 23, denied the charge of demanding money with menace.
Edwards lives at 203 Prospect, East Bank Demerara, Blake lives at 3086 North Ruimveldt, Ifill resides at 92 Canterbury Walk, Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and Odonogue lives at 41 Sideline Dam, Nabaclis (ECD).
It was alleged that they demanded the sum of $500,000 for the purpose of stealing and protecting Gavin Shepherd from a drug trafficking charge.
On February 11, Constable Bryan Peters and Corporal Robert Semple pleaded not guilty after being charged jointly with demanding money with menace as well when they appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson. Peters was further charged for simple larceny and common assault to which he also pleaded not guilty.
Peters, 32, of 103 Croal Street, Stabroek is a constable who has been attached to the police force for the past 14 years. Meanwhile, Semple, 54, a father of 13, who resides at Hopetown Village, West Coast Berbice, is a corporal who has been on the force for 33 years.
On February 12, yet another police officer appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate to answer to the charge of demanding money with menace to which he pleaded not guilty but the case was dismissed after the virtual complainant changed his story.
It was alleged that on December 11, 2008 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Bertie Griffith, a 20-year-old constable, #20185 of 23 ‘A’ Golden Fleece, West Bank Demerara, demanded the sum of US$100 from Vishel Singh with intent to steal the money and also stole two pairs of gold earrings from her.
When given a chance to speak, Singh said, “Let the matter just go because he (Griffith) wasn’t there an I en know anything about the matter. The people who really do the wrong deh out deh still, dis man en know nothing,” Singh stated.
Police Prosecutor Denise Griffith remarked, however, that Singh had given the police “a totally different version of story.”
The unrepresented defendant had his case discharged. He was ordered to pay $20,000 court costs and was placed on a bond to keep the peace for two years. The magistrate said that the virtual complainant (VC) should have been the one paying the costs since the defendant according to the VC does not know anything about the matter, but since Griffith would stand to benefit, then he should pay the costs.