UNDRESSED ON ARREST: Police officer allowed suspect to put on clothes before being taken into custody

UNDRESSED ON ARREST: Police officer allowed suspect to put on clothes before being taken into custody

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A police officer testifying in a trial of a man accused of libel against Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday he did not follow normal procedure when he allowed the accused to put on clothes before being arrested.

Oswald Poitier, 45, of Second Street, Cockburn Town, has pleaded not guilty to one count of intentional libel.

The matter resumed before Magistrate Samuel McKinney with Sergeant Demaril Curtis chronicling the initial arrest of Poitier on April 30, 2021.

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis.

Davis was not present for the hearing.

Curtis told the court that on the day in question, he was given information from his superior that Poitier was wanted at the Criminal Investigations Department on New Providence for libel.

He said he and another officer acted on the information and drove a short distance from the police station to pick up Poitier from his Second Street home.

Curtis, who admitted that he had known Poitier personally for more than a year, said he knocked on the door and when Poitier answered, he was only wearing boxers.

He said he “dapped” the accused and advised him he was being arrested for libel.

He said Poitier then asked him if the matter stemmed from a text about Davis, which he believed was already resolved.

During cross-examination of the officer, Poitier’s attorney, Joel Seymour, questioned him about the protocol of the arrest.

He asked whether it was regular police procedure to allow a suspect to get dressed before being handcuffed and taken into custody.

Curtis said: “He was in boxers. I knew him. I don’t think he would have ran away. I allowed him to get dressed.”

He said after the arrest, the defendant was taken to the station, informed of why he was arrested, allowed to make a call and then placed back in his cell after being fully processed — which officially ended his role in the matter.

The prosecution has alleged that sometime prior to November 16, 2020, Poitier recorded and distributed via social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp a voice recording of himself accusing Davis of instructing persons to harm, “take out” and kill other people.

He is accused of posting the content with the intent to defame Davis’ character.

The trial will resume on August 30, when additional witnesses are expected to testify.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.