KINGSTON, Jamaica – Pushing to clear the backlog of files received from the Bureau of Special Investi-gations, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has instructed detectives to arrest 14 of their colleagues for criminal offences, ranging from murder to assault.
An inspector and a corporal, two of the 14, have since appeared before the court.
“We have never seen anything like this before. This is the first time we have seen so many files returning from the DPP’s office. She is really delivering,” Assistant Commissioner of Police Granville Gause told The Gleaner last Thursday. Gause is the officer in charge of the BSI.
The corporal, Christopher Lloyd Thompson of the Linstead Police Station in St Catherine, was remanded until Friday when he is to return to court. He has been charged with the murder of Randeen Hall, who was killed in a controversial incident three years ago in Linstead, St Catherine. The shooting sparked massive protests in the rural town for several days. Residents claimed Hall was gunned down in cold blood.
Apart from the 14 who are to be charged criminally, the DPP has also ruled that 52 police personnel are to face the Coroners Court in connection with a wide range of other incidents.
“Since January, the DPP has ruled on 68 files, some of which dated from as far back as 2002,” said Gause.
The officer argued that there were still another 270 outstanding files at the DPP’s office awaiting ruling. In addition, his team of detectives is looking for 23 more police personnel to execute warrants on them.
Two officers located
Gause said he had since located the whereabouts of two of them and has requested the assistance of the relevant authorities to have them extradited to Jamaica.
The Gleaner understands that among the outstanding files are some controversial cases which had attracted widespread public attention. However, while some of the policemen involved in these shootings might have forgotten about them or are relaxing, Gause has warned that “it’s never over until it is over”.
He stressed that the BSI was now experiencing a 60 per cent increase in its clear-up rate. Gause has also requested assistance to increase the number of investigators at the office.
“Right now, we have about 23 investigators, each of whom are asked to take on between 50-75 cases,” he said.
Commenting on the number of files that she has returned to the BSI, the DPP explained that it is a work in progress.
Working very hard
“With the support of staff, I have been working very hard to clear the backlog of files,” said Llewellyn.She is aiming to clear the backlog by April/May and then improve the turnaround time for files sent to her office. If everything works according to her plan, the maximum time a file should spend at her office is three months.
“There are some urgent files which we took a day or two to complete. There are those cases but, since March last year, I have ruled on about 40 cases involving police personnel and anti-corruption breaches,” the DPP told The Gleaner on the weekend.