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Three police officers face court in ‘friendly fire’ matter

Three police officers face court in ‘friendly fire’ matter

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Two weeks after directives were given by the Director of Public Prosecutions to have criminal charges brought against three police officers in connection with the shooting of their colleague, the lawmen were finally charged earlier this week.{{more}}

Criminal Investigations Department (CID) police officers, Sergeant 151 Julius Morgan, along with police constables 335 Orlando Collins and PC 45 Adrian Forde, were brought before the Serious Offences Court on Monday, March 25, charged with the shooting of Corporal 351 Milford Edwards, a member of the Narcotics Unit (Drug Squad) on December 5, 2012.

The three officers, appearing rather calm, sported smiles as they entered the courtroom shortly after midday.

The men then proceeded to sit on the chairs on which prisoners sit, but after sitting there for about a minute, another police officer in the court told them to sit in the general area of the courtroom, with which they complied.

Several police officers from the CID were also present in court in a show of solidarity for their colleagues.

Morgan and Collins were slapped with five charges, including unlawful and malicious wounding, unlawful discharging of a firearm, excessive use of force, acting in a manner so rash or so negligent as to be likely to cause harm to a person and conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

Forde was charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Morgan and Collins were placed on $25,000 bail, each with one surety and Forde in the sum of $7,000, with one surety.

They were also ordered to surrender their travel documents and were ordered not to leave the state without the court’s permission.

Chief Magistrate Sonya Young placed a May 28 and 29 date for the matters to be heard.

Magistrate Young also ordered that full disclosure of statements be done by April 30.

Head of the Public Relations Department, Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Nichols executed the men’s arrest and charge.

As reporters waited for almost half an hour for the accused men to exit the courthouse, a police officer, also from CID, directed a comment to a SEARCHLIGHT reporter, stating “You can’t take the man’s picture. Don’t take no picture there.”

Upon exiting the courtroom, two of the police officers, Morgan and Forde appeared in the same jovial manner as when they first came to the court, while Collins appeared upset and walked back to the courthouse’s entrance after reporters attempted to take his photograph.

Before entering the police transport parked in the yard outside of the courthouse, Morgan interacted briefly with reporters before leaving.

The prosecution is expected to call 12 witnesses in the matter.

Counsel Ronald Marks represents Morgan in the matter while, Duane Daniel and Kay Bacchus-Browne represent Collins and Forde respectively.

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