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Police officer denies cavity search and mistreatment of Shanique Myrie

Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 5:19 PM    

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) - A Barbados police officer accused of conducting a cavity search on Shanique Myrie denied the allegation when she took the stand before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today.

Constable Sirphene Carrington also insisted that she did not make any derogatory remarks or searched the luggage of the Jamaican national who was denied entry into the island on March 14, 2011.

During cross examination Myrie’s Attorney, Michelle Brown sought to suggest that Carrington was “gruff, rough and boisterous with her client”.

Brown told the court that prior to taking Myrie to the bathroom during which a demeaning vaginal search was conducted, Carrington said she hated Jamaicans and accused Jamaicans of being liars who came to Barbados to steal men.

“Ms Myrie was never in the bathroom. Ms Myrie was not subjected to a cavity search...,” Carrington said.

Carrington, who was assigned to the Barbados Drug Squad, for two years, testified that she was present during an interview conducted by her superior officer, Constable Everton Gittens but she hardly spoke during the interview, which she estimated lasted for about 15 minutes.

Carrington maintained that Gittens did not search Myrie’s bag or her cell phone - rejecting claims levelled by Brown.

The police officer said Myrie was questioned in relation to the purpose of her visit to Barbados, where she was staying and her relationship with her host.

Carrington told the court that after the interview was completed Myrie was taken to Customs where her bags were searched by officials there.

Carrington said no drugs were found and Myrie was returned to the Immigration office.

The police officer said she left the airport along with Gittens soon afterwards.

But Brown sought to bring into question the accuracy of  Carrington’s statement suggesting that it was near identical to the one provided by Gittens.

Carrington maintained it was written by her and no one helped her to word the statement.

Gittens had delivered his testimony ahead of Carrington’s.

Pressed why Myrie was selected for the police interview, Carrington told the court that as a normal practice police interviewed passengers who are referred to the Immigration Supervisor.

Gittens also told the court that he had a feeling Myrie was a drug courier but he later dismissed the thought after conducting an “extensive interrogation” with the Jamaican national.

He told the court he felt Myrie came to work.

The police officer said Myrie was not under arrest and if she wanted to she could have left.

Gittens, who is also assigned to the Barbados Drug Squad, strongly denied suggestions he showed Myrie blue folders which represented Jamaicans who had tried to enter Barbados with illegal drugs.

Gittens also rejected suggestions from Myrie’s lawyer Nancy Anderson that he cut a slipper owned by Myrie, denied her a phone call and threatened to take here to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to be x-rayed for drugs, while attempting to persuade her that if she told him the truth he would help her.

“I did not make any threats to Ms Myrie,”he said.

During Brown’s cross examination, the police constable stoutly defended his colleague Constable Carrington.

He said Carrington had not made any derogatory statements to Myrie neither did she take her to the bathroom.

“I was the senior officer on duty, no such statement would have been made by Ms Carrington.

“Ms Carrington did not go to any bathroom with Ms Myrie, “he said.

Gittens told the court he discovered Myrie was lying about her host in Barbados after having separate conversations with Pamela Clarke, the woman with whom Myrie said she was staying.

 The officer also spoke to Daniel Forde the man who came to the airport to collect Myrie. In a witness statement, Forde said he had asked Clarke for her name and number to give to a visitor he was expecting from Jamaica.

 The Trinidad-based CCJ is hearing testimony in the case brought by the 25-year-old Myrie, who alleged that when she travelled to Barbados on March 14, 2011 she was discriminated against because of her nationality, subjected to a body cavity search, detained overnight in a cell and deported to Jamaica the following day.

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