PCA sends police file on Ornella Greaves shooting death to DPP

Ornella Greaves -
Ornella Greaves -

The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has recommended criminal charges in the investigation into the fatal police killing of a pregnant woman during a protest in Beetham Gardens, Port of Spain.

The protest was against the police killing of three men at Second Caledonia, Morvant in June 2020.

In a statement on July 1, the PCA said its findings and recommendations have been sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on June 30. The DPP, after reading the file, will have to hand over the matter to acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob to review and complete before any criminal charges are considered.

The PCA's release follows a damning report on Thursday in which it found the most extreme case of abuse of police powers and a deliberate attempt to mislead Jacob over the shooting death of PC Clarence Gilkes on April 22.

Jacob reiterated on Friday that that matter was still under investigation and he did not intend to say anything which could potentially prejudice the investigation or create an opportunity for pre-trial publicity in the event criminal charges are brought against police officers in Gilkes' case.

The PCA said it had initiated several investigations into reports of police shootings, brutality and misconduct after the fatal shooting of Joel Jacob, Noel Diamond and Israel Moses Clinton by a joint team from the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Guard and Emergency Branch.

One investigation focused on the death of Greaves, the mother of five, and "two other citizens who were shot whilst running for cover when the police began shooting during the protests," near the Beetham Highway, on June 28, 2020.

"During the course of its enquiries the PCA’s team reviewed the available documentary and medical evidence; statements of victims and persons who were present during the protests; reports of police officers; evidence elicited from CCTV footage and digital information, as well as the findings of an independent expert witness," the statement said.

The PCA did not say what it had recommended to the DPP.

The police also did an investigation into Greaves' death but have not submitted it to the Office of the DPP. Gary Griffith, commissioner of police at that time, said investigators had reviewed all the CCTV footage after Greaves was killed and it was determined not a single police patrols was within seven miles of the woman. He disputed the protesters' account of that police were involved. Instead, police claimed people were shooting wildly from the Beetham Estate and Greaves was shot in the melee.

In the fatal police killing in Morvant, which sparked three days of protests in Port of Spain, Laventille, Beetham, Cocorite and other parts of the country, police intend to bring in the six officers who fired their guns for interviews under caution and wrap up the wider probe against 11 others accused of making false reports about the event.

Police initially claimed they stopped a Nissan Tiida on Juman Drive, Second Caledonia and one of three occupants pointed a gun at them, prompting them to start shooting, killing all three.

CCTV footage of the incident contradicted the police version, as two of the men appeared to have their hands upraised when police opened fire. The investigation is being led by Supt Wayne Abbott, who is working closely with the Office of the DPP.

Investigators said they are hopeful that once they can resolve an outstanding issue, which they did not reveal, the case will be drawn to a close. They will then seek the advice of the DPP on whether charges of homicide, conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice and misbehaviour in office are supported by evidence.


"PCA sends police file on Ornella Greaves shooting death to DPP"

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