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DPP discontinues rape complaints

DPP discontinues rape complaints

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04.FEB.08

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Colin Williams today took over and discontinued two private criminal complaints, which were filed in the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, January 31, against Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

The Prime Minister had been served, and was due to appear before a Kingstown Court on February 22nd to answer accusations of rape and indecent assault that had been laid against him by a 36-year-old police woman.

“What I have done is in the best interest of justice,” Williams told SEARCHLIGHT.

In a press release Williams stated that although he is not required to give reasons for taking over any criminal case, nor to explain why any matter has been discontinued, given the totality of the considerations in the present matter, he has decided to provide some information to the public.

“When we look at it dispassionately, the question is, could the allegation stand up?” he asked.

According to the DPP, his decision was reached following a thorough examination of all the statements and evidence available in the matter.

“… a police constable – who was at the time assigned to the Special Services Unit, SSU – was on duty at the Prime Minister’s official residence on the 3rd of January 2008, working the midnight to 6:00 a.m. shift. The private criminal complaints allege that she was indecently assaulted and raped on that day,” the release said.

Williams explained that one key factor leading to his decision is that the accusers have refused to furnish the police or his office with a formal statement about the matter.

The release continues, “I wrote to (her) counsel last week Friday, 1st February 2008, requesting that a copy of her statement be provided either to the Commissioner of Police, or to me – for onward transmission to the Commissioner…. I also indicated that any other evidence in support of (her) accusation should be forwarded to me as well and I asked that they be given to me either the same day or by midday today, Monday.”

DPP Williams said that the accuser’s lawyers informed him by letter that they will not provide the requested documentation, as they have filed a private criminal complaint, so in the circumstances could not accede to his request.

“Criminal justice is about justice for everybody, the accused and the accuser. A person can’t just make an allegation about someone without being able to substantiate it,” Williams said.

He said that the Commissioner of Police provided him with a file containing a number of statements including one from an eyewitness to the Prime Minister’s activities that morning, and others from several police officers with whom the accuser spoke and told them variously that the Prime Minister kissed her, or tried to rape her. None the DPP said, reported that she said that she had been raped.

Williams also said that there is also an absence of any medical or forensic evidence to support the constable’s claim.

Williams said that while he expects to be lambasted for his decision in some quarters, he is adamant that he has made the right decision.

“On a review of the totality of the evidence, there is no basis upon which Ralph Gonsalves could be charged for any of the offences as alleged,” the release states.

Williams said that if evidence is produced that points towards a criminal act committed by the Prime Minister, he will not be afforded any breaks by the law.

“He is not immune to prosecution,” Williams said.

At a press conference last Friday, Dr Gonsalves categorically denied the accusations and dismissed as politically motivated, charges that he raped the police woman.



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