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One officer walks free in police shooting case

One officer walks free in police shooting case

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One of the three police officers who had been charged in connection with the shooting of another police officer, walked free from the Serious Offences Court on Tuesday.{{more}}

Police Constable 45 Adrian Forde of the Criminal Investigations Department, who was charged with conspiracy to defeat the course of justice, was discharged following a submission by his counsel Kay Bacchus-Browne that there was no evidence to support the charge.

“The only thing the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) was relying on was a report that he made, which, in any event, if that report had gone in, there was no evidence to show that he was perverting the course of justice,” Bacchus-Browne told SEARCHLIGHT.

Chief Magistrate Sonya Young agreed with Bacchus-Browne, stating, “I don’t have any evidence.”

DPP Colin Williams said he conceded in relation to Forde, and stated that once the report wasn’t allowed, then the case against him will fall.

Forde was then discharged of the matter.

However, the two other officers, Sergeant Julius Morgan and Police Constable Orlando Collins are still on trial, charged with 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.

At the close of the prosecution’s case, the men’s lawyers Ronald Marks and Duane Daniel said they will submit written no-case submissions on behalf of their clients on or before July 12.

The prosecution was given until July 19 to respond and the magistrate will give her decision on July 23.

On December 5, 2012, police received an anonymous tip that a drug operation was being carried out on the beach at Rose Place, popularly known as Bottom Town.

During the operation, Corporal Milford Edwards, a member of the Narcotics Unit (Drug Squad) was shot in his upper right arm.

Before the close of the case, the prosecution called Dr Charles Woods to testify.

Woods, who examined Edwards, told the court that on May 9, 2013, he removed metal fragments from Edwards’ forehead, which were then handed to investigating officer ASP Jonathan Nichols.

ASP Nichols, in his testimony, told the court that sometime in January 2013, he was given a directive to investigate the incident between the Narcotics Unit and the CID.

He said he collected statements and reports from the officers and forwarded them to the Commissioner through the Deputy Commissioner, as was the normal procedure.

On March 15, Nichols said he was given a further directive to charge the men.

Nichols stated that Forde elected not to give a statement in the matter, saying that he had already submitted a report and had already spoken to his lawyer.

However, Morgan and Collins, who also gave reports in the matter, said they were sticking by their reports, when they were interviewed by Nichols and Corporal Biorn Duncan by way of a video recording.

Collins, in his interview, which was shown in court with the use of a projector, repeated “I have nothing to say in regard to that question,” whenever a question was posed to him.

“Do you remember having a gun in your possession on December 5?”

“I have nothing to say in regard to that question,” Collins replied.

“Are you aware that Corporal Milford Edwards was injured?

“I have nothing to say in regard to that question,” he replied again.

“So, you are saying that you made a report and you will like to stick to that report?” Corporal Duncan asked.

“Yes, sir,” Collins replied.

Morgan’s report, which was read in court by Nichols, stated he was carrying a 12-gauge shot gun and Collins had an M16 A2 rifle, with Forde and another officer behind.

In his video interview, Morgan was asked if he had discharged the firearm he was carrying that night, to which he replied in the affirmative.

In the interview, Morgan also said he only recognized it was Edwards after the incident occurred.

He said he was the only person who helped to pick up Edwards and carry him to the police transport on the main road.

While in the transport, Morgan said Edwards was praying.

“I hold his hand and I was just telling him to remain conscious. He was praying plenty.”

Just outside the courthouse, following the close of the case, Edwards and Morgan were seen embracing each other.

“I have nothing against you. I know you didn’t wilfully shoot me. You are still my friend,” Edwards said.

Edwards also said that he had to find money to go to Barbados to seek treatment for his arm.

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