A senior officer today testified in the Supreme Court that part of the reason why at least one detainee under the States of Public Emergency, SOPEs, is being held is until they’ve gathered enough evidence to charge him.
The detainee is among four others who appeared in court for a hearing into the legality of their extended detentions under the SOPEs.
That detainee is Courtney Hall.
The other detainees are Everton Douglas, Nicholas Heat, Courtney Thompson and Gavin Noble.
The matter was first brought last week by their attorneys John Clarke and Isat Buchanan.
Senior police personnel and rank and file members appeared in the Supreme Court today to give evidence in relation to the extended detention of the five men.
A senior officer in Westmoreland appeared as a witness to give evidence in relation to Courtney Hall who is from the parish.
He alleged that Hall is a top tier member of the Elite gang based in the parish.
According to the senior policeman, Hall was detained because he was a threat to public safety.
He said at the time of Hall’s detention there was extreme violence taking place in the parish capital Savanna-la-mar.
The officer told the Court that Hall is linked to these incidents.
When cross examined, he was asked if there was evidence to support his claims.
The senior officer said there was what he believed to be evidence that needed work.
The senior policeman also indicated the evidence was not yet enough to charge at this time.
And when asked when Hall would likely be charged- the senior officer only uttered that they ‘expect to charge him for some murders and shootings.’
While he could not say when they’ll have sufficient evidence, he noted their challenges ascertaining more information on the detainee.
The policeman said persons who’d give statements are in fear.
He also noted that no one was volunteering to join the witness programme.
At this point Hall’s attorney John Clarke asked if persons are held until the Police have gathered enough evidence to charge.
The senior officer said that was part of it.
He also said Hall was still being held because he’s a serious threat to the peace and tranquility of Westmoreland.
Hall has denied wrongdoing.
Another detainee, Gavin Noble has been before an SOPE Review Tribunal twice.
However certain directives were made which resulted in him still being held.
Everton Douglas is a third detainee.
A senior officer claims Douglas who was picked up in the Kingston East Police division is the leader of the Jacques road gang.
The senior officer says the detainee is a threat to public safety and order.
This the senior police man offered as the basis for which persons are held under the SOPE detention orders.
With this information he was asked why the detainee has not been charged and put before the courts.
He was also asked how he justified keeping Douglas held without charging him.
The officer said based on activities, he concluded that the detainee was responsible for crimes committed in Mountain View. But they’ve still not garnered evidence to prove this.
He claims they’ve experienced challenges getting potential witnesses to speak because they’re fearful.
The Presiding Judge Justice Bertram Morrison having listened to the senior officer then told him the enhanced security measure would eventually end.
Justice Morrison says this would mean the detainee would again be free to commit crimes if no evidence is forthcoming to charge him.
The witnesses called in relation to detainees Nicholas Heat and Courtney Thompson were not cross examined.