Speak up boss cop


It is an indisputable fact that the Royal Barbados Police Force has served this country with great distinction.

It also unquestionable that some of the most committed and honourable Barbadians have served and continue to serve in the establishment.

But today the reputation of the force is under a bleak cloud, perhaps unprecedented in its post- colonial history. And it all has to do with the now dismissed case of the Commissioner of Police versus Derick Crawford.

It is a messy matter that will not go away and Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin cannot but give complete ventilation on all the related facts now that the criminal case has been adjudicated.

Indeed, the case is of such far- reaching consequences that Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, whether at a private consultative level with the force’s hierarchy, or publicly, must let his voice be heard on this unique affair.

We are told that in criminal matters, especially offences against the person, the evidence of the “virtual complainant” is of critical importance. We are also told that in criminal matters where identification of suspects is critical to solving the alleged offence, victims of crime are afforded the opportunity to see the perpetrator(s) under investigation.

We have been informed that only one of the two rape victims, Rachel Turner and Diane Davies, got the opportunity to see a line-up of suspects that included Crawford because the other was out of the Barbados jurisdiction at the time of his arrest.

The two Britons subsequently indicated publicly, in Barbados and their homeland, that Crawford was not their attacker.

The rules related to criminal identification as set down in Turnbull are interesting. In R v Turnbull 1976, 63 Cr App R 132, the court said thatwhen the quality of an identification is good in such instances as when made after a long period of observation, or in satisfactory conditions by a relative, a neighbour, a close friend, a workmate and the like, the jury can safely be left to assess the value of the identifying evidence even though there is no other evidence to support it”.

The court also noted that when the quality of the identifying evidence is poor, as for example, when it depends solely on a fleeting glance, or on a longer observation made in difficult conditions, the situation is very different. It was determined that a judge should withdraw the case from the jury and direct an acquittal unless there is other evidence which goes to support the correctness of the identification.

But here we have a unique case that stretches those legal guidelines. The question of identification is not in dispute. The victims categorically stated, post the charging of Crawford, that he was not their attacker. And, whether they were mistaken, suffering from diminished sensory perception, or Crawford had changed his appearance threefold or there were no further assaults in the locations of those offences during the interim, is irrelevant.

Turner and Davies were the virtual complainants and their voices could not be ignored.

So on what basis was Crawford charged and why did he spend 18 months remanded on a charge of rape which his alleged victims said he did not commit?

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin explained it thus: “The team of investigators who were tasked with investigating these assaults are firmly of the view that the evidence strongly supports the decision to arrest and charge Mr Crawford.”

It has been reported and confirmed that there is no DNA or forensic evidence against Crawford. It has been reported and confirmed that the only “witnesses” to these two crimes were the victims themselves.

So, what is the evidence of which Commissioner Dottin speaks?

We are told that there was a confessionary statement. And here rests the crucial component of this scenario.

If the statement was recorded within the dictates of the law, then the police would be in their rights to believe they had a solid case. Confessionary evidence, as the sole evidence available, is not foreign to this or any other worldwide jurisdiction, and is credible evidence in any court of law.

But in view of the victims’ statements, Crawford’s post-indictment assertions, and the dismissal of the case against him, the average citizen might view future confessionary statements with suspicion.

And since in judicial matters we are often judged by our peers, the force needs to allay the concerns of John Public on this matter.

Attorney-at-law Andrew Pilgrim stopped just short of calling for the commissioner’s resignation. We will not go as far as Crawford’s legal counsel, but we hope the implications which this episode has for the force and the administration of law and order are not lost on the goodly gentleman.

7 Responses to Speak up boss cop

  1. Diane Davies December 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    At last a voice of reason! I agree so much with the writer of this article. I am one of the complainants who was denied the opportunity to identify the so called accused, Derick Crawford, despite writing several times to Commissioner Dottin asking him to send me a photo. He catagorically and repeatedly refused me this basic right.
    Then when I was sent a photo by Rachel Turner, the other complainant, I knew immediately that they had charged the wrong man. I wrote again to Mr Dottin and to Mr Leacock but my letters went unanswered. So I wrote a second time only to get a cursory reply saying we will deal with this “when we can”.

    The case proceeded and we realised that the only way to make these people listen was to actually pay for the defense of Derick Crawford which we have now done. It transpired that the police had no evidence on which to base their conviction.

    Commissioner Dottin needs to answer for this gross miscarriage of justice. He needs to apologise to myself and Dr Turner for ignoring us and he needs to rouse his forces to get out and find the right man!

  2. joy brown December 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    This is years that people have been finger for crimes that they did not do and people have crying out and commissioner should have gotten up and got to the bottom of all this mess he turn a blind eye on peoples voices instead he stay behind those bad apples what does that say about him you have to call a spade a spade.

  3. Adela December 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    The murder of my friend, Kemar Shakir Maloney has not been resolved. It will be 5 years next year March and there has been really nothing.

    Other than that, I’ve experienced the miscarriage of justice because of someone I know sitting in prison for almost exactly 6 years; for a crime he DID NOT commit and that innocent person is Julian Fernando Worrell!

  4. Adela Houle January 8, 2013 at 12:12 am

    There are some things that need resolved. There are many families left in agony because of their loved ones in prison. Not because they’re in there but because of the injustice – unfair sentences, delayed transcripts, missing paperwork even poor investigations!

    For instance, Julian Fernando Worrell. This young gentleman has been wrongfully convicted (of manslaughter) – all because of an unreliable witness.

    To those who want to judge or are judging, keep to yourself because you were not there.

    That was not all – he was denied bail TWICE – had been sitting on REMAND since January 2007 until sentencing which took place in late May 2011. That’s extremely unacceptable to be on remand for that period of time. There were many adjourned courtdates in magistrates’ court which finally one day there were no more but just to be told he was fit to stand at the trial!

    Patiently waiting for appeal now since trial which first took place in May 2010 and ended on June 9. The day that innocent man was convicted!

    It has been now two years and half since the trial – transcripts being delayed. This man has been in jail for almost 6 years – for a crime he did not commit!

    There’s really no evidence to incidate that Mr. Worrell did this!

    I BELIEVE in his innocence and I KNOW that he is, this is why I want to address about what’s wrong with the justice system right in Barbados!

    What’s really wrong is that some guilty people get away with nothing or little while there are the ones who did NOT commit the crime(s) sit in prison – it is UNFAIR treatment.

    You want the justice. You want the fair and right kind.

    It’s also injustice to the deceased’s family, it’s not fair to them because they do not have the right killer(s) put away.

    If you do not know what injustice is, I suggest you watch a movie called “Midnight Express”. It’s not exactly the same as this but it gives you the idea of what injustice is! It’s based on a true story about an American college student who later got 30 years for little smuggling of hashish when at first it was about 4 years. He later escaped from prison.

  5. Adela Houle January 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Correction: This young man has been NOW in jail past exactly 6 years now.

  6. Adela Houle January 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Okay, I made a typo.. This young man has been in jail for exactly 6 years NOW.

  7. Adela Houle January 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I mean… Past exactly 6 years.

    I want something done about the justice system.


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