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Lawyers to make bail applications for Clarendon cops on murder charges

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014    

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ATTORNEYS representing four of eight Clarendon-based police officers arrested for their alleged involvement in the murdering of civilians are to make bail applications on behalf of the lawmen today.

The four cops -- Sergeant Leeford Gordon and constables Romaine De La Haye, Damon Robinson and Pete Samuels, who were assigned to the May Pen Police Station -- were remanded into custody when they appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

They were recently implicated and charged with murder in connection with ongoing probe into extra-judicial killings in the parish.

Sergeant Gordon, De La Haye and Robinson are charged with the murder of Marvin Shand on January 4, at New Longville in Clarendon, while Samuels is charged with the May 25, 2011 murder of Sylvester Gallimore.

It is alleged that Gordon, De La Hay, and Robinson ambushed and shot Shand, who was carrying bags with ground provision and other items on his head and in his hands.

Head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), Terrence Williams told Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey that based on a civilian's report, Shand was not armed and that ballistic evidence has connected the policemen to his death.

Further to that, he alleged that a photograph of the dead man's body was found in De La Haye's cellular phone, which supported reports that Shand was travelling with loads and had no weapon.

De La Haye allegedly sent the picture to another officer who was also arrested in connection to the controversial police killings.

In the meantime, Samuels is alleged to have killed Gallimore as Gallimore sat on a stone in a community in the parish.

The court heard that Gallimore was accosted by three policemen and was shot by two of them. His body was allegedly removed from the scene by the officers.

Commissioner Williams, after outlining the allegations Tuesday, told the magistrate that bail was strongly opposed in light of interference from the accused, as well as the strength of the allegations.

He also opposed bail on the grounds of the officers being a flight risk, noting that an officer has already fled the island since the investigation began.

The defence attorneys postponed their bail applications to today.

Queen's Counsel Churchill Neita, who is representing Sergeant Gordon, told the magistrate that the attorneys wished to be in receipt of the statements before submitting their applications and asked that disclosure be expedited.

Attorney Peter Champagnie is representing Samuels, Dwight Reece appears for De La Haye, while AA Hinds is representing Robinson.

The other four officers charged jointly with Gordon, De La Hay, Samuels and Robinson are also in custody after being denied bail on their appearance in court. They are Constable Collis 'Chuckie' Brown who is facing four counts of murder, conspiracy to murder and wounding with intent charges; Detective Corporal Kevin Adams, who is charged with four counts of murder; and constables Carl Bucknor and Jerome Whyte who are both charged with a count of murder.

According to the INDECOM commissioner, the fatal shootings were initially reported as civilian-on-civilian attacks, but investigation later allegedly uncovered that the killings were done by police officers.

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