DEU now has seven days to give an account
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Ryan Sands, the laywer who represents head of the Central Detective Unit (CDU), Chief Supt. Solomon Cash, told the supreme court on Thursday that Cash nor anyone else at CDU arrested Marvin Pratt, a man who was reported missing by his mother since December 5, 2018.
Pratt’s family alleged that he was arrested by CDU while in Gambier and was being held in custody. But when his mother, Barbara Saunders enquired about her son shortly after his reported arrest, she was allegedly told by CDU that Pratt was not in their custody.
Pratt’s family later went on to claim that he was spotted at CDU by a family friend who was also being held in custody at the same time as Pratt, but it was a claim that the CDU has vehemently denied.
And while CDU later urged family members to file a missing person’s report, this was not enough for Pratt’s family who still sought answers for many weeks after his disappearance. Missing person posters were plastered throughout New Providence and on social media platforms.
Pratt’s family also led several interviews with the media with the hope of finding their loved one, but their efforts were futile.
The family, therefore, filed a habeas corpus [writ] application in the Supreme Court requesting the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBFP) to give an account for a man who has been missing for the past three months.
Meanwhile, in court yesterday, attorney Crispin Hall who represents Pratt’s family, told the court that the explanation given by Ryan Sands on behalf of the CDU, of having never arrested Pratt, was not enough.
Hall stated that the Return filed to investigate Pratt’s disappearance was only limited to the Central Detective Unit, but the writ he presented to court on behalf of the family had requested an answer from all units of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Hall further backed up his claim by stating that an eyewitness on the scene, Rose Francis, stated that she was certain the men were police officers who arrested Pratt as their vests were marked ‘DEU’ which she knew to stand for ‘Drug Enforcement Unit’.
Justice Andrew Forbes, in his response, told attorney Sands that Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, the Department of Immigration, Princess Margaret Hospital, the Department of Corrections, Bahamas Ferries and the Lynden Pindling International Airport were all questioned regarding Pratt’s disappearance and still no account or position was given from the Drug Enforcement Unit.
Justice Forbes said that Cash would not be able to speak on the DEU’S behalf, considering his responsibility is for the Central Detective Unit.
Forbes then asked Attorney Sands when he would be able to get an answer from the Drug Enforcement Unit on whether or not Pratt is presently or was at any time, following the said date [of his arrest], in police custody.
Sands requested a period of seven days to return with a response.
Justice Forbes granted Sands the requested extension and the matter returns to court on March 28, 2019, at 9:30 a.m.