Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shame On the Police: Missing Monies result in a Not Guilty Verdict.

35 year old Shane Darren Paynter of Tunapuna, Trinidad, is today a free man after a nine-member jury returned a not-guilty verdict. Paynter was held by police officers in July of 2003, allegedly in possession of US $900 counterfeit notes and TT $6,064. The court was told the US $900 which was previously in evidence by police officials was now missing and only $2300 of the local currency was presented, as $3,764 could not be accounted for by officers. Witnesses for the Prosecution, Head of the Fraud Squad, Acting Senior Superintendent of Police Vincel Edwards and Superintendent of Police-Tobago, Garfield Moore could not present the missing monies to the court. 

The nine-member jury wasted no time in delivering the not-guilty verdict. During questioning by Prosecutor Rihanna Ali, Superintendent of Police Garfield Moore told the court that when he went to retrieve the evidence, the Property room was in a mess.

“Things were everywhere. In 2011, the Property Keeper, Corporal John was charged with misbehaviour in public office because a firearm which was lodged at the Property room ended up in the hands of a civilian. Since then, there was an internal audit of the Property Keeper’s room and several discrepancies were found. The Property Keeper’s register was then taken to Trinidad for further investigations,” Superintendent Moore said.

Attorney at Law Larry Williams in representing his client said Paynter should be freed of the charges as the police could be accused of stealing. He then proceeded to sing a line from calypsonian Leydon ‘Organiser’ Charles.

“The police keep the US and take some of the TT, look the bandit, that’s a bandit,” Williams sang, much to the amusement of the jury. High Court Justice Devan Rampersad later called on the jury for a verdict in the matter and the not guilty verdict was read out.

On July 17, 2003 Paynter was held by members of the Fraud Squad along with three other persons, in a rented vehicle in the Crown Point district. When searched, police reports state US $900 counterfeit bills and $6,064 TT was found in his right front pocket. Paynter was arrested and taken to the Crown Point Police Station. When the matter came before the Magistrate’s Court back in 2009, the evidence was produced and the monies were proved as counterfeit, following forensic testing.


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