Judge tells police: Bring SORT head to court

File photo: SORT head Insp Mark Hernandez.
File photo: SORT head Insp Mark Hernandez.

Attorneys for the head of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) successfully petitioned the court late on Friday night for a writ of habeas corpus after police had kept him in custody since Wednesday morning. He has not been charged.

High Court judge Kevin Ramcharan ordered the police to bring Mark Hernandez to court and the matter is fixed to be heard before Justice Betsy Ann Peterson-Lambert on Monday.

Attorneys Alexia Romero, Wayne Sturge, Marrio Merrit and John Heath filed the writ on Friday evening, demanding that the police justify Hernandez’s continued detention.

Hernandez had been held since about 6.45 am on Wednesday.

Sturge said his client had been “incarcerated in excess of 53 hours, far beyond the reasonable common law limitation for the detention of a citizen without charge.”

The Professional Standards Bureau took Hernandez from his home to be interviewed in an investigation into events related to the abduction and murder of court clerk Andrea Bharatt.

Hernandez and a woman police constable were expected to be put on ID parades on Friday, but those did not take place, as police reportedly could not find people matching their description to form part of the ID parade.
Attorneys representing the female officer are expected to file for habeas corpus on Saturday. She too has been in custody since Wednesday.

The SORT officers, along with other police officers, were questioned about the deaths of two suspects in Bharatt’s murder, Andrew Morris and Joel Balcon.
SORT held the two on January 30. Morris died two days after being arrested and Balcon eight days later. Their relatives claimed police had beaten them to death. Autopsies concluded they both died from blunt force trauma.

Bharatt went missing on January 29 and her body was found in the Heights of Aripo on February 4. Negus George has been charged with her murder.


"Judge tells police: Bring SORT head to court"

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