Rights Bahamas: Alleged police torture victims should take legal action

Rights Bahamas: Alleged police torture victims should take legal action
Fred Smith, QC.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The three victims of alleged police brutality, while being detained on the island of Eleuthera, were strongly urged by Rights Bahamas on Wednesday to take immediate legal action.

“These victims were ignored, given the run-around and told that according to ‘the law’, the Police Disciplinary Tribunal could not hear their matter.

“We know of no such law and cry shame on the police for trying to pull the wool over these poor victims’ eyes, closing ranks and failing in their duty to take proper action against police brutality,” outlined a statement issued by Rights Bahamas.

Earlier this week, a local daily reported that Chavette Strachan, Dale Gibson Jr and Kenton Fines had alleged in court documents that they were handcuffed, beaten and fish-bagged by Central Detective Unit officers while in custody at the Governor’s Harbour Police Station on January 19, 2018.

The trio were being questioned in connection with attempted murder and armed robbery on Eleuthera. They filed a complaint with the Force’s Complaints and Corruption Unit in February 2018. However, the trio, the local daily reported, were released without charge on January 22, 2018, and they claimed that they were allegedly tortured for confessions.

“Imagine being handcuffed, beaten and suffocated at the hands of police officers, only later to be released without charge,” Rights Bahamas alleged in yesterday’s issued statement.

It is also understood that the police recently summoned two of the three to give evidence against an officer said to be involved in the incident, but when the pair showed up for a Police Disciplinary Tribunal hearing in Eleuthera earlier this week, they were reportedly turned away.

“Imagine reporting the matter and then being ignored for more than a year. Then, when the police finally do call and you show up to a hearing as requested, imagine being told your complaint has unfortunately run out of time,” Rights Bahamas said, adding that the behaviour of the police, in this case, is truly reprehensible.

“The severe physical and mental abuse suffered by these victims has now been compounded by emotional abuse and a feeling of hopelessness in the face of shocking injustice.

“These victims should absolutely take legal action against the Royal Bahamas Police Force for abuse of their rights. Rights Bahamas stands ready to help them in any way in their quest for justice.”

In addition to the complaints they made with the police force, Strachan, Gibson and Fines told the local daily that they have also filed lawsuits against the Royal Bahamas Police Force.