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Cop seeks apology, monetary compensation

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Jeffrey LaBorde, the police sergeant who a witness in a murder case alleged had made a deal with him, is seeking a public apology and monetary compensation from attorney Grant Connell, for making remarks in the newspapers about his integrity.

Lawyer for Laborde, Bertie Pompey, a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police, in a letter to Connell dated May 6, 2013, states that if an apology is not forthcoming within 14 days, “my client will consider that he has no alternative but to proceed against you in the court of law.”

LaBorde led the investigation into the murder of 80 year-old Ulric Hercules of Arnos Vale February 24, 2012.

During the preliminary inquiry on April 16, at the Serious Offences Court, prosecution witness, Cleroy Pinder, told the court that LaBorde had struck a deal with him to say he heard the accused Junior Providence say that he killed Hercules.

Pinder said the deal was that if he testified against Providence, two robbery charges against him would be dropped.

Those charges have not been dropped.

Following Pinder’s allegation, Prosecutor Inspector Adolphus Delpesche closed the prosecution’s case without calling Laborde to testify.

Connell, who was Providence’s lawyer, then made a no-case submission in the matter, which was upheld by Chief Magistrate Sonya Young.

“My instructions are that on Tuesday, 16th April 2013, in a press interview given to the News newspaper, The Vincentian newspaper and the Weekend SEARCHLIGHT, which have a worldwide readership, you took the opportunity to falsely and maliciously utter and publish the following statement that is defamatory of my client,” the letter from Pompey to Connell reads.

Connell had questioned the integrity of the police officer in all three publications and accused the Major Crimes Unit (MCU), to which Laborde is attached, of being incompetent.

Pompey’s letter states, “the words allegations, assertions and innuendos are false in material particular and are specifically intended to damage and or destroy the reputation and character of my client in the contemplation of the Vincentian public and any other person who would have read the aforementioned newspapers.

“My client denies that he was engaged in any arrangements with Cleroy Pinder to subvert the course of justice as alleged. In this regard, my client contends that you are deliberately untruthful with no end to serve other than to vindictively and maliciously disparage my client’s reputation whilst at the same time bolstering your own reputation in some heroic form.”

In his letter, Pompey said that despite attempting to do so, his client has been unable to resume his normal life, as it was prior to Connell’s “defamatory onslaught”.

“By way of this letter, I am affording you the opportunity to make amends by publicly apologising to my client in print and electronic media within 14 days of the day you receive this letter and to make a reasonable monetary offer of compensation to my client.

However, Connell’s attorney, Kay Bacchus-Browne, in a letter to SEARCHLIGHT dated May 8, states that there is no merit in Pompey’s letter.

“None of Pompey’s demands would be forthcoming. If there is to be an apology, Mr Pompey’s client must apologise to the family of the deceased and my client who was falsely accused.

“This was a waste of tax payers money in bringing the case to court and for having to maintain my client in jail for months. The case was closed without prosecutor Delpesche even calling Laborde to give evidence. This is unprecedented as he was the investigating officer in the case. That speaks for itself. I’m sure a transcript can me made available from the Serious Offences Court for all to peruse,” the letter from Bacchus-Browne reads. (KW)

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