Letters to the Editor

'Weir's the warrant?

Thursday, August 02, 2018

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Dear Editor,

With information moving at the speed of Usain Bolt, by now everyone should have seen the video circulating on social media of Olympian Warren Weir and his 'nice' car being searched by some members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The video, which is over 20 minutes long, showed Weir and a companion being searched by a police corporal, one police constable had a cellphone capturing the ordeal, while another constable was standing around. Weir and his companion also took turns capturing the incident with a cellphone. In the video the corporal continually informed Weir what he was going to do before doing it each step of the way. Weir complained he was being stopped because he had a nice car and took issue that the officer did not ask for his driver's identification. Weir contended that without the officer having sight of his identification he would not be able to tell if he (Weir) was a wanted man.

The recording went on with Weir and his companion rambling and poking fun at the officers calling them “crazy crazy 1 crazy crazy 2”. The police officers in the video were recently commended by the police high command for delivering excellent customer service, but people have been left wondering if the officers had a right to stop and search without a warrant.

Now, section 19 of the Constabulary Force Act, section 42 (1) and 42 (2) of the Firearms Act, section 11(3) of the Praedial Larceny (Prevention) Act gives powers to the police without warrant to stop and search any person and vehicle; and section 204 of the Customs Act states that any officer with reasonable suspicion may stop and examine any carriage.

Now did the officer err by searching before asking for identification? Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act states that a driver would be guilty of an offence if he/she fails to produce a driver's licence when required to do so by an officer. But it did not say at what point the officer is to ask for such a licence.

The officer seemed to make sure his every move was observed by Weir so as to give comfort to him that nothing would be maliciously planted in his vehicle. All in all, Weir's drama was uncalled for. Thumbs up to the officers.

Hezekan Bolton

h_e_z_e@hotmail.com

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