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Magistrate dismisses case in which police officer had no flashlight

Magistrate dismisses case in which police  officer had no flashlight


Magistrate Rickie Burnett last week dismissed a case in which a policeman had responded to an attempted burglary call using the light of his cellular phone, as he did not have a flashlight.

On September 30, Nadia Lewis of Sandy Bay had reported to police that an attempted burglary was in progress at her residence.

When the matter was heard at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on November 20, Lewis told the court that the defendant, Paris Lavia, had been pounding on her door.

“I felt scared, as I was home alone with my two-year-old. The person was [banging] down the kitchen door, which was locked on the inside and trying to unlock it, but the light was on. I saw a foot and a black Jordan slipper. I telephoned the Owia Police Station, but Officer 417 Martin advised me that he informed the Sandy Bay Police Station on the matter,” Lewis testified.

A police constable attached to Sandy Bay Police station responded to the report, after being alerted by the Owia Police Station and visited the scene at about 2:30 in the morning.

When the police officer took the stand, he said he met Lavia, a resident of Point Village, sitting at the side of the house, near to the kitchen door.

He said he questioned Lavia, who seemed to be under the influence of alcohol. According to the policeman, Lavia told him that Lewis had invited him to her house.

It was also revealed that the policeman had to borrow a flashlight from the complainant to carry out his investigations. When asked by the magistrate why he had to borrow a flashlight, the police officer said that he only had the light from his cellular phone.

This prompted Burnett to summon Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Trumpet to court, and on arrival, the magistrate asked him why did the police officer have to borrow a flashlight from the complainant to perform his duties.

Answering, the ASP said that “policemen are to be equipped with their own flashlights, … they are too cheap.”

Magistrate Burnett, however, suggested that “maybe, they are not cheap, but that their salaries may be too small.”

Lavia, who represented himself in the matter, claimed that he and Lewis had a relationship and she had earlier invited him to her home, a charge Lewis consistently denied.

The defendant also said he had slept at the house before and gave a description of the bed and mattress.

The magistrate then adjourned the case and visited the scene, along with prosecutor Delroy Tittle on Monday, December 4.

On December 11, when the magistrate gave his verdict in the matter, he told the court that having assessed the evidence, he had doubt in his mind.

“Once I have doubts, consequently, he’s not guilty. This matter is dismissed,” Burnett said.