A magistrate may find himself in hot water over comments he made while presiding over an assault case in the Arima Magistrates Court.
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Three cops charged with assault, kidnapping
Three police officers have appeared in court charged with assaulting and kidnapping a man from Diego Martin last year.
Cpl Kevin Nurse and PCs Kevin Cassie and Kevin De Freitas appeared before Magistrate Nanette Forde-John in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court on four criminal charges which arose out of their arrest of Nicolas Owens in November last year.
The trio was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, kidnapping, false imprisonment and misbehaviour in public office. They were not called upon to plead to the charges which were laid indictably.
During the hearing, Forde-John certified the bail that they had received from a Justice of the Peace after being charged by detectives of the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) over the weekend.
Court prosecutors requested that conditions be placed on their bail, requiring their colleagues to periodically report to the nearest police stations to their homes for the duration of their case.
Their attorneys, Kirk Hogan, Criston Williams and Christian Chandler objected as they pointed out that the request was illogical as they are still serving members of the Police Service.
Forde-John is expected to make a determination on the issue when the case comes up for hearing again tomorrow.
During that hearing, prosecutors are expected to begin disclosing the evidence against the officers as required under the new Criminal Procedure Rules.
The charges arose out of an incident near Owens’ home at La Puerta, Diego Martin on November 5, last year.
The officers, who were all last assigned to the Western Division Task Force, reportedly went to the community to arrest another resident and became involved in a confrontation with Owens.
He was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, obstruction and using obscene language.
After receiving bail, Owens reported the incident to the PSB and allegedly provided video footage of the incident captured by a neighbour’s CCTV cameras.
While the charges were laid on the officers based on the fact that Owens’ arrest was deemed unlawful, he is still facing the charges which were initially laid against him.
The T&T Guardian understands that the charges will be dismissed by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions when Owens reappears in court on July 3.
Owens is expected to file a civil lawsuit for assault and battery, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment against the State seeking compensation.
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