Complaints body concludes review of Colwyn Harding probe

-cops likely to face assault charges but no evidence of rape

Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), retired Chancellor Cecil Kennard has completed his review of the Colwyn Harding investigation and yesterday he sent the case file with his recommendations to the Crime Chief Seelall Persaud.

Kennard told Stabroek News that ranks from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were on their way to his office to collect the file. He said that from there, the ranks would take it to the office of the Crime Chief, who would then forward it to the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice.

Based on what this newspaper has gathered so far from sources, no charges would be laid against ranks as it relates to Harding’s allegation of rape, owing largely to the fact that there is no medical evidence contained in the file because he was never physically examined to determine whether or not he was raped.

However, it has been reportedly recommended by both Kennard and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) that some of the ranks be charged with physical assault and that others be disciplined departmentally.

Harding last month went public with an allegation that a police constable raped him with a baton last November and that he was subjected to brutal beatings at the hands of that rank and others at the Timehri Police Station. The first story on Harding’s situation was published on January 10 at which time he was a patient of the Georgetown Hospital in severe pain. He had damage to his intestines, which is being claimed occurred as a result of the assaults committed upon him.

Harding, who had been an inmate of the Georgetown Prisons since he was unable to post his bail, was first taken to the hospital on December 13 last year and after an examination he was referred to the surgery department. It would appear that he was given a return date and was taken back to the prison. However, four days later, he was rushed back to the institution after his condition worsened and he underwent emergency surgery the following day. It was on this day that his mother says she made contact with Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell and other senior officers and informed them of the allegations made by her son. Police have said they were never told of the rape.

The hospital has since said that while its doctors were treating Harding they saw no sign of the alleged rape nor were they told anything about it.

It was only after a story appeared in the media that Brumell instructed the OPR to conduct an investigation. He said that as no time prior to that was he was told that Harding was allegedly raped. Harding’s mother, however, is refuting his statement. She insisted that in the text message she had sent to him she had said that he was raped by the police.

Harding is currently in Jamaica where he was flown to seek additional medical care after being discharged from the Georgetown Hospital. After his discharge, he was admitted to a private hospital where it was discovered that there was bleeding in the rectum. Through the kindness of persons living here and abroad, arrangements were made to fly him to Jamaica. His stay there is indefinite.

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