<<< Reginald Ferguson, Commissioner of Police.
When they aren’t throwing an MP outta the House of Assembly, you would find citizens dead in their custody. And when they aren’t beating Haitians in the back of the Carmichael Road area and plain robbing persons of their money, they’re hauling a innocent citizen to court because a expat owner of a store has paid them to do so. Something has SERIOUSLY gone wrong deep inside the GESTAPO Royal Bahamas Police Force.
We at Bahamas Press could not avoid this shocking story coming out of the Nassau Guardian on Wednesday of this week. It speaks to the many vicked tactic by the GESTAPO Police in the Bahamas. My word, the RBPF has gone from killing people in jail cells in the country to now tampering evidence before the high court. Perhaps the British should consider reassuming its powers ove the Bahamas again as they are now doing in the Turks and Caicos! We getting worse by the day PEOPLE! [Just a thought people, just a thought on that last point about the British].
By CANDIA DAMES
Guardian News Editor
The Nassau Guardian
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Supreme Court Justice Jon Isaacs has characterized as “despicable” the behavior of police in the case of two men accused of a murder that occurred nearly a decade ago, and ordered that the proceedings against them be stayed.
Isaacs said evidence had been produced “which implicates [Sean Saunders and Warren Ellis] being tainted by police misconduct”, and as a result they ought not be called upon to undergo trial.
Referring to police actions in the matter, Isaacs said the court cannot be seen to condone such behavior and must “refuse to countenance behavior that threatens either basic human rights or the rule of law”.
A proposed witness has alleged that the police pressured and tricked her to provide the prosecution with evidence implicating the men in the murder. She alleged that the then Acting Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson and an ASP Fernander coerced her and that another statement attributed to her bears a forged signature.
While noting that it is the attorney general’s constitutional duty to prosecute people who may be guilty of offenses in The Bahamas, Justice Isaacs noted that the attorney general ought not pursue a matter where the purported evidence implicating an accused person has been accumulated by questionable means and fraudulent tactics.
“I hold the view that the allegations [of the witness], which presently stand uncontroverted in these proceedings, required a more robust response by [the attorney general] in determining the veracity of [the witness’s claims], certainly more of an effort than what has been disclosed in this case,” Justice Isaacs said.
“It is incumbent upon [the attorney general] to ensure that the process by which cases are brought before the courts is not tainted or flawed and that the evidence supporting a case against a defendant is like Caesar’s wife…beyond reproach. Anything less brings the administration of justice into disrepute and engenders justifiable suspicion and skepticism among the general public.”
Isaacs noted that until 2008 when the statements of the witness in question emerged, there was no evidence adduced through the statements of the prosecution witnesses to implicate either of the applicants. He noted that without the evidence of the witness who alleges she was pressured, the case against Ellis and Saunders appears anemic.
Saunders, also known as Shawn Saunders, was arraigned before Magistrate Carolita Bethell on April 28, 2008 on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He was re-arraigned before Magistrate Bethell on the same charges but with the addition of co-accused Ellis on May 5, 2008.
Saunders is presently the subject of extradition proceedings but is on bail in that matter. He has contended that the murder-related charges were being used to keep him in custody and that his constitutional rights to personal liberty and to receive a fair trial within a reasonable time were being violated or at least in peril of violation.
Saunders and Ellis, who are represented by attorneys Damian Gomez and Roger Gomez Jr., had asked the court to declare, among other things, that their right to a trial within a reasonable time had been threatened and they had sought an order striking out a Voluntary Bill of Indictment (VBI) the prosecution had secured for the case to proceed, or in the alternative an order staying the VBI.
They contended that a reasonable time has expired since the alleged murder of Timothy Jansen Henfield. Twenty witnesses in the case have reportedly died and the memories of other witnesses have become increasingly unreliable, according to Saunders and Ellis.
The applicants also contended that the prosecuting authorities have lodged in these proceedings documents that have been obtained by coercion or have been dishonestly produced.
In an affidavit, Saunders outlined claims in respect of the female witness, who had been in the witness protection program.
According to the ruling, Terry Archer, an assistant counsel in the Office of the Attorney General, swore an affidavit filed on June 5, 2008 claiming that the witness in question was present when Ellis and his accomplice planned the murder of Henfield; when Ellis and the accomplice were paid for the murder, and when Ellis told the witness’s boyfriend, Monty Thompson, of his involvement in Henfield’s death.
Archer also said in the affidavit that the witness’s car was used when the murder was committed and that her safety was a cause for concern — her boyfriend, Thompson, having been killed in 2007. According to the affidavit, the witness left the state’s witness protection program voluntarily sometime in 2008.
In another affidavit filed on October 1, 2008, Archer mentions an affidavit sworn by the same witness in Ellis’ bail application. In this affidavit, the witness outlines systematic pressure by members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force for her to implicate Ellis, Sean Bruery (another name by which Saunders is known) and others in the killing of Jansen Henfield and the attempted murder of Marvin Henfield.
The witness stated that her reason for signing the statement “was because of the pressure that was put on me by members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who had compelled me to go with them to the Central Detective Unit (CDU), Thompson Boulevard to give the statement.”
She said that since starting her present job a year ago the police had visited her numerous times “harassing and pressuring me into giving the statement.” She said she thought that had she not done so, they would have continued to harass her and cause her to lose her job.
“I certainly never intended to nor actually went into the police of my own initiative to file a complaint with respect to the death [of] Timothy Jansen Henfield or the alleged conspiracy to kill Marvin Henfied,” the witness stated.
She added that much of what is contained in her statement as having happened was based on suggestions made by the police. She denied being present during any occasion when Ellis and Monty Thompson were paid for a killing.
The witness also stated that she did not sign another police statement attributed to her, nor did she give such a statement.
According to the ruling, the witness went to the Office of the Attorney General with the intention of speaking about her alleged statements, but left after the director of public prosecutions gave instructions for the police to be called to interview her.
Thompson’s affidavit featured prominently in Ellis’ bail application before Justice Stephen Isaacs on November 19 and December 16, 2008. Justice Isaacs granted Ellis bail because he was of the view that the prosecution of the applicants seemed bound to fail.
Saunders and Ellis cited the witness’ recantation and Justice Stephen Isaacs’ observation that the prosecution seemed bound to fail to ground their assault on their continued prosecution. They argued that as the only witness linking them to these offenses alleges she was coerced by the police to make the statements incriminating them, the court should stop the criminal proceedings as an abuse of process.
Justice Jon Isaacs said in his ruling that the failure of the authorities to conduct an expert analysis of the signature the witness alleges was forged could create suspicion that there may be some truth to her assertion.