WATCH: DPP Issues Statement On Fatal Police Shootings

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Press Release:-  On 2nd February, 2017, I convened a meeting with the press to provide an update to the public on matters generating great public interest and concern.

This included the status of investigations involving police shootings, spanning the period of 2010 to 2011. These shootings resulted in the loss of life of 12 citizens in 2011.

This figure sets the record for the highest number of police shootings ever recorded in this State within any even given year. This attracted significant publicity both at a domestic
and international level based on allegations that they were extrajudicial killings by
the police.

Simply put, they were alleged to a great extent to be unjustified and therefore illegal. Consequently, the Government of the United States of America imposed sanctions widely referred to as the “Leahy Law” against our nation as these alleged illegal shootings were potentially gross violations of human rights.

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This resulted in the suspension of financial assistance and training to the entire Royal
Saint Lucia Police Force from August of 2013.

On 18th June, 2021 the nation was informed of the restoration of support to particular
departments of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. This indication again has given
rise to great speculation and concern from the members of the public, the media and
members of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force as to the status of the investigations
surrounding these shootings.

In my last address, I indicated that the investigations into matters under review, were
incomplete and as such craved the public’s indulgence to exercise patience and allow
the investigative process of these matters to be completed.

Sometimes however, depending on the complexity of some investigations, the
process may take a considerable amount of time. In this instance, it has taken years.

I want to advise though, that these investigations, due to their nature have no
statutory limitation period, meaning, that there is no time limit for the investigation
or institution of charges against persons where sufficient evidence is gathered to do
so.

The Police Force therefore can continue investigating such matters over lengthy
periods of time. This may be as a consequence of lines of enquiry or evidence
becoming available some years after the occurrence of an incident.

I believe therefore, that this is a convenient juncture to update the public on my
continued review of these matters and to provide you with my decisions at this stage
regarding the possible prosecution of persons involved and to address what has
widely been referred to as the IMPACS report.

It is important to set the record straight and make it pellucidly clear that my office
does not conduct criminal investigations. The conduct of these investigations are
within the remit of the Commissioner of Police and the Royal Saint Lucia Police
Force. The function of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is to review
these investigations submitted by law enforcement.

My office thereafter would provide advice and guidance to police investigators
which include advise on the sufficiency of the evidence gathered and any possible
lines of inquiry to be explored. We would also provide advice on the evidential Page 3 of 7
requirements of an investigation.

The decision to prosecute anyone is determined to a great extent by the evidence gathered by investigators being sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. This would include for example, evidence of an eyewitness who saw a crime occur. Also, there are instances where forensic evidence can link an individual to a crime. However, opinions, speculations or suspicions as to who committed a crime is clearly not evidence upon which my office can act.

In December 2013 the Government, pursuant to the Police Complaints Amendment
Act of 2013, appointed a team of investigators from the Jamaica constabulary Force
to investigate the circumstances surrounding the police shootings occurring within
the period 1st January, 2010 to 31st December, 2011.

The team was given terms of reference and commenced its investigation or enquiries
from 2nd December, 2013 to April of 2014. Subsequently a final report was prepared
and submitted to the Government of St. Lucia. I am in receipt of a report and I have
thoroughly reviewed this report.

I can state clearly that CARICOM IMPACS did not prepare this report and so it is incorrect to refer to it as “The IMPACS Report.” This investigating team was empowered as aforesaid by the Police Complaints Act as amended.

It is important to note the specific provisions of the Act which govern the conduct and powers of the team. Specifically section 18 subsections (4) of the Act as amended reads as follows:
18. Complaints Unit
(4) Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3) of this section the Minister may
appoint one or more persons to investigate any matter involving a member or
members of the Police Force.
Subsection (5) states that Persons referred to in subsection (4) of this section may
be appointed from within or outside of Saint Lucia.
(6) Any person or persons appointed to conduct such an investigation by the
Minister shall have full powers to review such matters, conduct or order any and all
investigations and request or undertake any analysis necessary and shall have all the
powers, authority, advantages and immunities given to Police Officers under the
Police Act in furtherance of the investigation, and shall report to the Minister. (The
Minister being the Minister of National Security)

It is of vital importance to note subsection 7 which reads
(7) Where, in any investigation authorised by the Minister, it appears to the investigator or lead investigator that there is prima facie evidence of criminal conduct, he or she shall transmit to the Director of Public Prosecutions all evidence, statements and other relevant materials arising from the investigation.

Subsection 8 provides that
(8) A previous hearing or finding by the Complaints Unit, or the prior conduct of a Coroner’s Inquest concerning the matter to be investigated shall not preclude an
investigation from being authorised by the Minister.

Having outlined the relevant provisions of the Act it is clear that the team of investigators from the Jamaican Constabulary Force was mandated to provide all evidence, statements and other relevant material to my office where in its opinion there was prima facie evidence of criminal conduct. Prima Facie which is latin simply means at first sight. In other words, the instances in which the team opined that there was sufficient evidence to support a criminal charge, it was obligated to submit to the Director of Public Prosecutions all the evidence and all relevant material resulting from its investigations.

To date, I can report that I am not in receipt of any material from the Jamaican
Constabulary Force. Therefore, the final report provided by the Jamaican team does
not amount to evidence or relevant material compiled in a criminal investigation that
I am able act upon.

It however, provided possible lines of inquiry and opinions all of which I believe
should remain under seal to eliminate any possibility of unfair prejudice to anyone
concerned.

Consequently, there was the appointment of local investigators to conduct a review
of the report provided by the Jamaican team and also to conduct homicide investigations into the matters under review.

This was done notwithstanding the conduct of Coroner’s inquests into these deaths. As per section 18 subsection 8 of the Police Complaints Act as stated earlier.

These officers have conducted investigations into the matters under review and
others. Due to the nature of the investigations and the fact that external agencies are
assisting in the investigations I have to continuously conduct reviews of the evidence
gathered thus far and offer advise where necessary.

MATTERS UNDER REVIEW
The fatal Police shootings for the period under review are as follows:
1. JASON WARRICAN shot by the Police on 12th January, 2011 about 2:30
am at Bois Patat in the Quarter of Castries.
2. KIMRON SIMON shot and killed by the Police on 12th January, 2011,
about 3:00 am at Bois Patat, Castries.
3. ASHLEY BERNARD shot and killed by the Police at Wilton’s Yard Castries
on 13th February, 2011 about 12:00 pm.
4. BERTRAM CHARLES shot by the Police on 17th February, 2011 about 5:00 pm at La Clery in the Quarter of Castries.
5. REGINALD JEAN shot and killed by the Police on 28th February, 2011 about 1:00 p.m. at Marchand.
6. DWIGHT HENRY shot and killed by the Police on 12th April, 2011 about 3:00 am at Marigot Quarter of Anse La Raye.
7. KEVIN FERDINAND, ROSARIUS MARQUIS, JOHN BAPTISTE MACFARLANE, MITCHELL CADETTE and ALLEN LOUISY were all shot and killed by the Police about 3:00 am on 5th May, 2011 at Vieux Fort.
8. ELISHOUS LOUIS shot and killed by the Police on 10th January, 2012 about 5:00 pm at Bisee, Quarter of Castries.

I can confirm that I am in receipt of case files in relation to all the matters I have mentioned and I have had the opportunity to thoroughly review all of them, to assess
the status of the evidence contained therein presently.

I have advised the Commissioner of Police of my opinion regarding the sufficiency of the evidence provided to my office thus far. For obvious reasons I cannot make public the contents of these files and so I shall advise you of my position as it relates to these investigations to date.

In relation to the shooting deaths of JASON WARRICAN, KIMRON SIMON, ASHLEY BERNARD, BERTRAM CHARLES and ELISHIOUS LOUIS I have advised the Commissioner of Police that I do not find that there is sufficient evidence at this stage for any charges to be preferred against the officers concerned in these shootings.

As it relates to the deaths of REGINALD JEAN, DWIGHT HENRY, KEVIN FERDINAND, ROSARIUS MARQUIS, JOHN BAPTISTE MACFARLANE, MITCHELL CADETTE and ALLEN LOUISY I have advised the Commissioner of Police that I find that there are further lines of enquiry to be explored, therefore the investigations in these matters are active and I intend to provide a follow up update on these matters in due course.

This is the extent of my update to you.
Thank you

Headline photo: Daarsrean Greene, DPP

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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