State to decide best option for pursuing manslaughter matter against police officers

Oscar Bartholomew

Director of Public Prosecution Christopher Nelson said today that the State will be considering its legal options, with regard to the ruling by a High Court judge to order that the charges be dismissed against five police officers who were accused of causing the death of a Canadian visitors in December 2011.

Lawyers for the accused men filed a motion in the High Court, claiming that the Director of Public Prosecution acted against the Coronor’s Act, which mandates that an inquest must be held for persons who died in a public place.

“This ruling means that the charges must be dropped and an inquest be held,” said Nelson who explained that the written judgment is not yet available. “However, we are considering our legal options and a decision going forward will be announced during the week,” he said on Monday.

Derick Sylvester, lawyer for the family, said, “This is not the end of the matter, it’s a short term victory.”

On 26 December 2011, Oscar Bartholomew a Grenadian/Canadian citizen and his wife were doing an island tour, when they stopped at the St David Police Station, for his wife, Dolette, to use the washroom facility. Reports are that while waiting for the return of his wife, he mistook a plain clothes female officer for a long lost friend and bear-hugged her. In the process she screamed and other police officers ran to her rescue and beat Oscar into unconsciousness.

He died at the General Hospital hours later. The state pathology report as well as an independent pathologist hired by the family said he died from internal injuries including skull fractures due to blunt force trauma to the body.

The officers charged were: Constables Kenton Hazzard, Wendell Sylvester, Edward Gibson, Shaun Ganness and Ruddy Felix.

By Linda Straker

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