Cops still working on Colwyn Harding case

It has been three weeks since the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) re-turned the file on the Colwyn Harding baton rape investigation to the police with instructions to do more work but ranks are still apparently trying to complete those tasks.

Contacted yesterday, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said that the investigations have not yet been completed. He had previously told the media that investigators were instructed to re-interview some witnesses and look into the findings from the private hospital where Harding was treated after his release from the Georgetown Public Hospital, among other things.

Asked what progress the investigators have made in these areas, Persaud said that he would be unable to say as the ranks

Colwyn Harding
Colwyn Harding

of the Office of Professional Responsibili-ty (OPR) are conducting the additional aspects of the investigations and would report directly to the Police Commissioner.

Several attempts yesterday to reach Police Com-missioner Leroy Brumell were futile.

Meanwhile Harding’s mother Sharon told Stabroek News that the date for his final surgery is indefinite at this point as an examination conducted last week at a private hospital revealed that there was a problem between the rectum and the bowel which has not only resulted in it becoming septic but also abscesses forming.

She said that the doctor has explained that he is unable to see the area clearly on the x ray.

According to Sharon, her son who is on a constant dose of antibiotics, is able to walk around the house without assistance.

She said that medically he is not “fit internally”. She said that the doctor has explained that his “bowels got to settle” and further examinations have to be done to determine when he would be fit to have that surgery done. She stressed too that a large part of his intestines is gone.

After his discharge from the Georgetown Hospital, doctors had said that a final surgery would be done in another three months. That time is fast approaching.

As a result of the injuries he sustained during the alleged rape, he has to use colostomy bags to collect the waste matter from his body.  His mother told Stabroek News that he still uses the bags and is making preparations to collect a shipment from overseas. It arrived in the country recently.

Harding, 23, who was admitted to the GPH on December 17th, has accused a police constable of ramming a condom covered wooden baton into his anus on November 15. It is alleged that the sexual assault occurred at a house in Timehri where the police had gone to conduct a search.

He also accused police of subsequent beatings while he was incarcerated at the Timehri Police Station.

That police constable was placed under close arrest after Harding’s allegations became public. He has since resumed his duties but has been moved to another location. At least six other ranks from the Timehri Station were moved to other stations within `A’ Division.

Senior police officials including Brumell have previously said that they were initially unaware of the severity of Harding’s complaint and injuries. In the days following a newspaper article on Harding’s plight, Brumell instructed the OPR to conduct an investigations. The matter at the time was being handled by `A’ Division.

Following the OPR’s investigations, the file, which contained what the ranks had gathered along with recommendations for charges, was handed over to the chairman of the Police Complaints Authority, Cecil Kennard. He made the observation that there was no evidence to substantiate a rape. What he however found was that several charges related to physical assault can be laid against some of the ranks. He had also recommended departmental charges.

The file was then returned to the police who forwarded it to the DPP. Prior to it arriving there however, Harding’s attorney Nigel Hughes had send a copy of the medical report of a local doctor who had examined Harding after he was discharged from the Georgetown Hospital. Among other things, the report stated that there was active bleeding.

Harding subsequently travelled to Jamaica to have a second examination done.

The examination the media was told confirmed what the first doctor had found. Hughes in a press conference after Harding returned home had said that both independent medical examinations have found that his rectum was damaged as a result of the insertion of a foreign object.


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