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Witness: Officer offered me a deal

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The prosecution at the Serious Offences Court, on Tuesday prevented a can of worms from being opened, after one of their witnesses said a senior police officer had bribed him in a murder case.{{more}}

Prosecution witness Cleroy Pinder was appearing as a witness in the Preliminary Inquiry into the murder of 80-year-old Ulric Hercules, when he made the startling allegation against Sergeant Jeffery Laborde of the Major Crimes Unit.

Hercules, 80, was found dead at his Arnos Vale home on February 24, 2012.

A post mortem report revealed that he had died from strangulation.

When Pinder took the stand, he said Laborde struck a deal with him that the two charges of robbery he is currently facing would be dropped, if he said that he heard accused murderer Junior Providence say that he killed Hercules.

Pinder appeared at the Serious Offences Court twice in January on robbery charges. He was denied bail and was remanded in custody after being charged with robbing Nusam Sampson of a chain in Kingstown on Saturday, January 26.

He appeared a week earlier in court on a similar charge. Those matters were adjourned to May 22 for Preliminary Inquiry.

Pinder also alleged that Laborde told him that if he did not go through with what was being offered, the police would let the magistrate deny bail and when he goes to prison, they would make him suffer.

Prosecutor Inspector Delpesche called another witness to the stand after Pinder, then closed their case without calling case investigator Laborde to the stand.

Providence’s attorney, Grant Connell, then made a no case submission, stating that none of the prosecution witnesses linked his client to the scene of the crime and there was insufficient evidence against him.

Chief Magistrate Sonya Young agreed with Connell and upheld the no case submission.

Shortly after being freed, Providence told SEARCHLIGHT that he is thankful that he is out of jail, after spending about six months there.

“I feel good now. I could continue my life again because I know me ain’t kill nobody,” Providence said.

The 30-year-old Lowmans Leeward resident and father of two said he was “surprised” at what Pinder accused Laborde of doing.

“This man (Hercules) was my Godfather. I used to live by this man and I find it’s really surprising what they said. I am the one who called the police when I went there the morning and saw him dead,” Providence added.

Hercules was found with one shoe on, his tongue sticking out of his head and his shirt off.

“I went by him the Wednesday before the thing happened and I asked him for some help because I want to start to build my house and he tell me to come by him on Friday and we go go in town. When I went dey now, I meet him dead inside the house,” Providence explained.

Meanwhile, Providence’s attorney Grant Connell told SEARCHLIGHT that “It appears as if charging someone for a crime gives the impression that the crime is solved and creates some temporary relief for the family that suffered loss until the case gets to court…”

He added that the Major Crime Unit (MCU) is supposed to be an “elite” squad of officers to investigate crimes.

“People are losing faith in the police. The scales of justice must be balanced… This case was so poor that Delpesche closed it before the investigator got a chance to say what he investigated. When officers like Laborde remain in the most elite squad of officers, it builds the confidence level of criminals in the incompetence of police…,” Connell added.(KW)

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