Police officers on trial 7 years after they were accused of causing visitor’s death

Oscar Bartholomew

by Linda Straker

  • The officers were jointly charged with manslaughter after they were suspected of beating Grenadian-Canadian Oscar Bartholomew into a fatal coma on the compound of the St David Police Station 
  • On Tuesday they were each placed on EC$30,000 bail with one surety

The 5 police officers who are accused of causing the death of Grenadian-Canadian Oscar Bartholomew on 26 December 2011 are one step closer to trial.

Director of Public Prosecution Christopher Nelson said the men were arraigned on Tuesday, and 20 April is the date set for case management. “Case management is preparation for trial or, what is called a status hearing. It’s preparing all the documentation that will be required for the trial,” he said while explaining that the matter will be heard in a future High Court criminal session.

Back in 2011, the officers — Edward Gibson, Kenton Hazzard, Ruddy Felix, Shaun Garness and Wendell Sylvester — were jointly charged with manslaughter after they were suspected of beating Bartholomew into a fatal coma.

The altercation occurred on 26 December 2011 on the compound of the St David Police Station after Bartholomew bear-hugged a plainclothes policewoman, who he allegedly mistook for a long-time friend. Her reaction to the hug caused her colleague officers to react in a manner that resulted in the beating. He later died at the General Hospital. He and his Canadian wife were on Christmas vacation.

The charge against the officers was challenged in the court by their lawyers, and a Coroner’s Inquiry was ordered following a March 2013 order by High Court Judge Justice Septimus Rudd, which squashed the manslaughter charges against the officers.

The judge ruled that there should be a Coroner’s Inquest in keeping with Section (9) of the pre-Constitutional Coroner’s Act. The officers who were suspended, were reinstated into the police force.

The Coroner’s Inquest has since concluded with a recommendation that the men be held culpable for the death. On Tuesday they were each placed on EC$30,000 bail with one surety.

Anselm Clouden, the lawyer for 3 of the men said that at the case management session, a date would be set to commence the trial.

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