One of the four police officers charged for allegedly accepting bribes to allow drug smugglers to go free after an interception was made on the Corentyne coast in Berbice in September last year, has been set free.
Assistant Superintendent of Police, Terrence Browne, 48, who was the Officer-in-Charge of the Whim Police Station at the time of the drug bust, was freed on the grounds that the prosecution failed to convince the court that he (Browne) received a share of the multi-million-dollar bribe money.
Brown, along with three other police ranks, were charged for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to allow Rennison Park to pass freely with cocaine in a minibus on the Corentyne coast sometime between September 10 and 11, 2015.
It was alleged that Browne, between September 10 and September 11, 2015, at Salton Village, Corentyne, Berbice, obtained a part of the $6M reportedly collected by the other ranks as bribe money and as an inducement to forego charges against Park.
Corporal Shawn McPhoy, of 174 Laing Avenue, West Ruimveldt; Constable Ray Drepaul Saul, of Eversham, Corentyne and Constable Trevon McKenzie, of Princeton, Corentyne were charged jointly while Brown was charged separately.
It was alleged that the three along with a female officer collected a $6M bribe and gave some of it to Browne. The female cop, Stacy Welch, had testified during Brown’s trial that she received a share of the money when it was parted. She further stated that McPhoy placed a portion of the money into a plastic bag and said it was for the boss.
Attorney-at-Law Chandra Sohan who represented Brown, questioned Welch to determine her interpretation of ‘the boss’, while noting that it could have been the Commander or the Police Commissioner.
He told the court that the prosecution failed to establish that McPhoy said he was taking the money to Browne.
Welch, who was the prosecution’s key witness, told conflicting stories, Sohan argued. During her evidence, Welch had stated that she was outside of the police station and saw when Brown collected the money. She also told the court that she was in the enquiries section and never left the police station.
Magistrate Charlyne Artiga, presiding over the Whim Magistrate’s court today, said the prosecution had failed to convince the court that the Assistant Superintendent of Police was the person who received the black plastic bag.
In September, Browne had maintained that he knew nothing of the alleged transaction while those charged along with Welch returned their share from the $6M bribe.
McPhoy, Saul and McKenzie will have to return to court next Monday when the trial continues. (Andrew Carmichael)