MSJ calls for DPP, DCP Jacob to act swiftly on PCA’s torture report

MSJ Leader David Abdulah. -
MSJ Leader David Abdulah. -

Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah says the finding of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), that all the suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Andrea Bharatt were tortured, raises very troubling and disturbing concerns.

Two of the suspects, Andrew Morris and Joel Balcon, died while in police custody on February 4 and 10 respectively. Negus George, 24, of Gooding Trace, Malabar, Arima, has been charged with murdering Bharatt, and his common-law wife Giselle Hobson, 37, was charged with receiving stolen items belonging to Bharatt.

During a virtual news conference on Sunday, Abdulah called on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard SC, and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mc Donald Jacob to act speedily on the findings and take action against those found to be responsible. The PCA said a report has been sent to the Gaspard, Jacob, the Chief of Defence Staff and Minister of National Security.

Abdulah said he hopes if evidence shows police officers or members of the Defence Force engaged in acts of violence and torture against the suspects, there would be no hesitation in having them charged and taken before the courts.

He said the PCA’s finding and any subsequent action will in no way diminish the kidnapping and death of Bharatt or others, especially young women, as such an act is reprehensible and should be condemned.

Bharatt, 22, entered a car, which she believed to be a taxi, at King Street, Arima on January 29. She never made it home from the Arima magistrates’ court where she worked as a clerk. Her body was found on February 4 down a precipice in The Heights of Aripo.

“There is no question that the death of Andrea Bharatt is a reprehensible act and persons responsible for her death must be held to account and brought to justice,” Abdulah said.

“Being held to account and brought to justice means that the process of law – the rule of law must be held.

“At the same time, we cannot allow suspects to be subjected to acts of violence and torture and even be killed by the police.”

He said such action is outside of the rule of law.

“If we go down that road, it will essentially give police and others license to kill, which will undermine our process of the rule of law and criminal justice system.”

As flawed as the criminal justice system might be, Abdulah said, it is still the process by which people arrested and charged must be tried by the court and found guilty or not guilty.


"MSJ calls for DPP, DCP Jacob to act swiftly on PCA’s torture report"

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