Police address myriad matters during Wednesday press conference

A Wednesday press conference held by police commissioner Darren Simons relating the processes of investigations into an alleged vehicular death to incidents of indecent exposure and the spewing of racist epithets made for a pointed question and answer session between the Bermuda Police Service’s [BPS] and media members.

Commissioner Simons intimated the latter two items to have come to a likely end due to the abscondence of a main suspect and the expressed reluctance of potential witnesses to press charges or agree to offer court testimony, while the other, elavant to the road death of footballer Marco Warren highlighted the possiblity of inexperienced and/or inept police work, combined with the initial lack of cooperation by former Progressive Labour Party [PLP] Senator Curtis Richardson, now charged with causing Warren’s death by driving without due care and attention.

In the case of the World Rugby Classic player allegedly seen naked while riding a mechanical bull during the event at National Sports Centre’s North Field, it was confirmed that the man had departed the Island prior to completion of the investigation, being arrested or charged, with a request for extradition unlikely in any event for a summary offence.

With regard to supposed racist remarks having been voiced near the entrance into Coco Reefs hotel by presumed rugby players during the course of a Saturday night party, such had also collapsed as a case because of potential key witneses being unwilling to take matters further.

Simons later explained some of the dynamics relative to the police being able to take cases to a charging level.

“Initially we are going to start with there being a story or allegation and we try to gather as much information as we can,” said Simons. “But ultimately when we look to charge somebody or even make an arrest we have to have reasonable grounds to suspect.
“We cannot operate with, ‘I have a rumor, somebody said this or Johnny or Jane said this’.
“It comes down to a recorded statement, where people are willing to go to court and give evidence.
“So, if somebody says that I can tell you what happened and write it down, but they are not prepared to go to court to give that evidence, in terms of the actual prosecution, when it gets to the DPP to decide rather to actually charge, they are going to say that there is no evidence.
“So, that’s what happens very often in cases like these.”

Asked if the person making a false statement be arrested, the answer was yes, but such yet demanded a complaint being presented.

“In that case it would require somebody to make a complaint,” ontinued the commisioner. “If one person has a negative, untrue comment or allegation that’s made about another person, which comes into the realm of social media, over on the criminal side you can have slander and libel.
“But unless they are reporting it to the police – and in this case it was not reported to the police- there’s really no crime that’s being committed in that particular case.”

He further explaiend the various levels of offence, which determine where a case might be assigned.

“A summary offence is an offense that is going to be tried in Magistrates Court,” he said. “So you have summary offences, then you have offences that are tried indictably in the Supreme Court for the first appearance.
“So that’s what those mean. We no longer have misdemeanor offences, but back when we did we had misdemeanor, summary and felony.”

Added was how supplied video may not be enough to faititate and arrest, unless such be derived from police controlled devices.

“There are a couple of issues that are going to arise from video evidence and the number one is going to be that this video was recorded by somebody who, in this case saw the event and is able to say, ‘I didn’t doctor this video’.
Now, if it was our CCTV, then obviously we know where the cameras are and we are going to say, ‘This is a recording of what happenened’, and there is no issue.
“You can have video and then identification still becomes an issue.
“Unless you have somebody who’s prepared to say, “ I recorded this video and I’m telling you that the recording of what I have actually happened and this is the individual who did it”, you are challenged.
“Videos can help the investigation one way or another, but it is not going to necessarily get us to a space where we are going to get a conviction or maybe even reach charging level.”

Meanwhile, left was the wrongful death situation, where questions remain as to why it took nearly six months to identify and bring an acussed befoe the courts, with Simons revealing the case to have required cold case detectives to provide assistance to the orgnisation’s road incident investigators in order to properly direct the investigation and land Richardson as the prime suspect.

He vehemently denied suggestions of a cover up and declined to confirm Premier Burt as someone who had been questioned during the course of the matter, although Burt would later release a statement noting his cooperation.

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