DPP returns Colwyn Harding file to cops for more work

The police have been asked by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack to do further work on their internal probe of the alleged rape of Colwyn Harding by one if their own ranks.

Ali-Hack said yesterday in a brief statement that after examining the file she has returned it to the police for further investigations.

Stabroek News understands that this development might be due to the fact that the police did not make arrangements to have Harding medically examined as part of their examination as is done with all rape allegations. To further complicate this issue, a medical report from a doctor from a private hospital who had examined Harding after he was discharged from Georgetown Hospital was sent to the DPP by Harding’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes. That report stated, among other things, that there were signs of bleeding in his rectum. This examination would have taken place two months after the alleged rape took place.

Shalimar Ali-Hack
Shalimar Ali-Hack

The DPP, in a statement to the media yesterday, advised that the case file had been returned to the Guyana Police Force for “further investigations to be conducted.”

It added that the DPP further wishes to clarify that the Harding file was received at these Chambers on the 6th February, 2014 and was dispatched to the GPF on the 19th February, 2014. “The DPP herein verifies that the Harding file was at the Chambers for twelve working days and not ALMOST one month after recommendations on the matter were made by the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) as was stated in the Guyana Times Newspapers”, the release said.

Prior to the file being sent to the DPP, it was with Chairman of the PCA Cecil Kennard for more than a week. Contributing to the period spent on the examination, was the large number of statements in the file, some of which conflicted, as well as the fact that Kennard had to request additional information from the police.

Colwyn Harding
Colwyn Harding

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, 2014, at which time he was a patient of the Georgetown Hospital in severe pain. He had damage to his intestines, which it 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 said 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 police internal affairs unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility 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 late last month was flown to Jamaica where he underwent a second independent medical examination which confirmed what the doctor in the first examination had found. Hughes had told reporters at a press conference that the doctors had found that the damage to Harding’s rectum was as a result of the insertion of a foreign object.

Harding is now back in Guyana and his supporters are trying to raise the cash he needs to have a final surgery done in Jamaica which would rectify the damage to his intestines. Based on what persons close to him have said, he is showing signs of improvement and is now walking about unaided.

The constable who alleged committed the act was placed under close arrest and several other ranks from the Timehri Police Station have been transferred to other stations.

 

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