Police defend Nation newspaper charges

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Mark Thompson has defended the decision to charge three officials at the Nation Publishing Company, saying that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was consulted and indicating that the media are not above the law.

In a statement issued late yesterday, after publisher Vivian-Anne Gittens, Editor-in-Chief Roy Morris and senior journalist Sanka Price went to court accused of allowing an indecent photo of two minors to be published, Thompson said that in considering the charges against the members of the Press, the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) “took full cognisance of the debates on the issues as the public saw them.”

The charges stem from the October 26, 2013 Saturday Sun publication of a story and a photograph – taken from a video posted on Facebook – which showed two schoolchildren having sex in a classroom.

Thompson acknowledged that the media have a critical role to play in a democratic society, but said the law had to be complied with.

Obviously, as individuals, members of the RBPF have their own views and, as a collective body, the members are agreed that the article forced us as a people to have a conversation as to how we should order our society,” Thompson said.

Notwithstanding these views, as a Law Enforcement institution the R.B.P.F is legally bound to impartially enforce the criminal law, albeit humanely.”

He said police concluded there was sufficient evidence to support the charges but still went to the DPP.

In the circumstances of this matter, were the RBPF to lean to its own understanding some persons would claim and rightfully so that the RBPF is an institution steep in hubris and with a perverse sense of its public obligation.

Consequently, the RBPF sought the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions on the utility of preferring charges against named individuals and the advice he gave was followed,” Thompson said.

Gittens, Morris and Price were each released on $10,000 bail yesterday when they appeared before Magistrate Wayne Clarke who ordered them to hand over their travel documents as a condition of their bail.

Two teenage boys, 15 and 16, were charged the day before with photographing the children’s sex act and were released on $10,000 bail each and placed on a 7:30 pm to 6 am curfew.

Thompson said a third investigation is still underway but gave no details.

10 Responses to Police defend Nation newspaper charges

  1. Kennyatta Chery
    Kennyatta Chery November 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I fully support the RBPF and the DPP on this one. No one is above the law.

  2. Cat Rock
    Cat Rock November 15, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Why does the police have to defend doing their job. I hope they throw the book at them. Stop being so irresponsible

  3. Nicole Clarke
    Nicole Clarke November 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Imagine †ђǻ† all of this could have been avoided if parents had raised their children properly… 3 adults are facing charges because two children thought it Wå§ sensible Τ̅o have sex I̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅ school -_-

  4. Princess Tiny Neferua
    Princess Tiny Neferua November 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    That piece of journalism was in poor taste..but I am wondering about the alleged video tape of an officer performing lewd acts with himself that seem to be circulating the internet at this present moment…if this is true..will anything be also bought against those parties involve…#justasking# 🙂

  5. David E Hall
    David E Hall November 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    The R B P F feels the need to defend this move, not just because it is unprecedented, but also because it goes against the grain of what we have always understood the freedom of the press to be. I read this statement simply as saying its not us its the D P P.

  6. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins November 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    This is a country of double standards and the whole system want revamping, but then again when the head bad, the whole body bad. Just saying!

  7. David E Hall
    David E Hall November 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Am still wondering what is the desired outcome in this whole process. And whatever the desired outcome is or was, could it have been achieved otherwise, and if so? then why have we chosen to go this route in embarking upon a path that does more harm than good. To the Director of Public prosecution, discretion is often the better part of valor.

  8. Prince Nick
    Prince Nick November 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    the fact that with this statement they prejudiced the case right

  9. Tarzania Burnett November 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I beg to differ with Nicole Clare who commented earlier. Three adults are charged because of their reaction to the situation. The children did not force the adults to publish the picture. The adults are in trouble because of their poor judgement.

    Hooray for the police.

    However, why is bail set higher for the children than the adults?

  10. Robert Holloway
    Robert Holloway November 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    how many articles might land a publication in court these days, confusing for sure.. someone spending all day reading to find / just saying


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