RBPF tribunal over abuse claims set for today

RBPF tribunal over abuse claims set for today

Two women alleged police officer beat and detained them without cause

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — An internal Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) disciplinary tribunal into abuse allegations stemming from the arrest of two women in Exuma begins today.

The women in question, who are expected to provide testimony during the hearing sometime this week, accused Assistant Superintendent Christian Leary of police brutality and misconduct after they allegedly sustained injuries as a result of an encounter and subsequent arrest earlier this year.

Superintendent David Lockhart has been assigned to preside over the tribunal, which is expected to conclude within a week.

Attorney Bjorn Ferguson represents the officer.

Assistant Superintendent Raymond Hanna is expected to serve as police prosecutor.

Eyewitness News Online understands attorney Crispin Hall represents the claimants.

In August, the women claimed they were on their way home from the Rolleville Homecoming Festival and Regatta around 4.30am when they encountered a police roadblock.

The pair — Dejah Laing and Aaliyah Bain — said they were forced out of the vehicle and beaten before being taken to the George Town Police station.

The cousin of the women was driving the vehicle, while Laing and Bain were in the passenger seats.

Photos of the young women displaying facial abrasions made the rounds on social media.

The images showed Laing with a blooded, swollen face and a tear to her eyelid.

Bain had a swollen, bruised lip and cracked tooth.

According to the women, they were not charged with a crime.

Speaking to Eyewitness News Online, Ferguson said his client did “absolutely nothing wrong in the circumstances operating with the tools he had” and expressed confidence the hearing will demonstrate that.

Police disciplinary tribunals do not involve criminal proceedings.

A police officer above the rank of inspector accused of misconduct not instituted in a criminal court can become the subject of an inquiry and disciplinary proceedings, according to the Police Act.

An officer found guilty of any such offence of other misconduct may be punished by the governor general.

This includes, dismissal, required to resign, reduction in rank or seniority, a fine not exceeding one month’s pay, withholding and deferment of increment, as well as severe reprimand.