A Senior Superintendent of Police who was last month found guilty for shooting a 19-year-old pregnant woman was today slapped with a million dollar fine but spared prison time.
The charges of unlawful wounding and misconduct in a public office for which SSP Anthony Castelle was found guilty in late November relate to an incident which happened in 2016.
When the verdict was handed down in the St. James Parish Court on November 23 this year, SSP Castelle, reportedly collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Speaking with Nationwide News earlier today, his attorney, Althea Grant, says she plans to file an appeal on her client’s behalf.
On January 22, 2016 a young woman was a passenger in a taxi that was travelling along the Mount Salem Main Road in St. James. When the taxi came upon a checkpoint, SSP Castelle and a District Constable signalled the vehicle to stop. It didn’t.
Reports are the policemen chased the taxi, firing multiple shots upon the rear of the vehicle. When the shooting had settled a young woman was shot and injured. She was reportedly pregnant at the time.
An Independent Commission of Investigations, INDECOM, probe led to both SSP Castelle and District Constable Rohan McIntosh being charged.
District Constable McIntosh was freed of the charges in court. But SSP Castelle was given a guilty verdict last month after which, the senior cop fainted in court.
SSP Castelle was handed a non-custodial sentence. He was fined $1-million.
Speaking with our news centre after the verdict, SSP Castelle’s attorney, Althea Grant, says she’s thankful her client was only given a fine. But, the attorney says she will not comment further, as her client is exercising his right to appeal.
Meanwhile, in a statement today, INDECOM is reminding members of the Constabulary that section 103 of their use of force policy says -quote- Firearms will NOT be discharged at a vehicle: simply because it has failed to stop for a signal at a road check, or to immobilize the vehicle – end quote.
INDECOM is also urging motorists to obey the lawful commands of all police personnel who are engaged in law enforcement duties.
Meanwhile, SSP Castelle paid the fine today in order to avoid a 30-day prison term.
In handing down her sentence, Presiding Judge Natalie Hart-Hines said she’s satisfied a custodial sentence was appropriate.
Presiding Judge Hart-Hinds in her ruling said she took into consideration a number of factors including a favourable social enquiry report. She also took into consideration remorse showed by SSP Castelle over the incident.
Justice Hart-Hinds says she understands the role of a Senior Superintendent is stressful. But she says SSP Castelle is also expected to be an example to his junior officers and constables.
She says he should also be an example to members of the community.
The presiding judge says she notes SSP Castelle’s attorney’s submission that the senior cop may lose his job and pension as a result of his sentence. But she says a message must be sent that the law must be upheld.
SSP Castelle is a 38 year veteran of the constabulary.
The woman who was shot in the incident, Janice Hines underwent surgery following the shooting. She reportedly went on to deliver a baby boy.