Often times when prisoners appear at the Georgetown, Wales and Leonora Magistrate’s Courts and other Courts across the country, on varying offences, they claim that they were beaten by Police ranks who allegedly forced them to sign confession statements, admitting to carrying out crimes for which they were accused.
These are, however, not fresh claims as investigative ranks have been long accused of inflicting such acts to garner information.
Acting Crime Chief Paul Williams who spoke to media operatives at a recent Police event earlier this week was asked if he was aware of any investigation into the claims that ranks attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) have been beating detainees to obtain information.
In response, Williams denied knowledge of such incidents since acting in his position for the last few months. He also maintained that his CID subordinates are capable enough of garnering what they require without reverting to acts of assault.
“I know under my watch, nobody will be beaten, because we have what it takes. I have capable and competent people who can do good interviewing and investigation, so there’s no need for us to move to the extreme where we would have to get physical to extort any information from any person,” he said recently.
He further stated that he will take it upon himself to ensure that beatings do not occur. “No Magistrate has ever asked or ordered for me to conduct any investigation where persons alleged that they were beaten,” the acting Crime Chief disclosed.
Williams further informed the public that much of the training received from the Canadian-based Justice Education Society (JES) with Magistrates and Judges; it was recommended that interviews with detained persons be recorded while being conducted. It was revealed that caution statements are being taken with cameras present.
“At the end of it, if people want to deny the credibility and also the weight and authenticity of those confessions, the camera is there to show because everything is being done consistently,” stressed the acting Crime Chief.
In February, the men accused of murdering a cellphone card dealer on the Corentyne had accused Police of brutalising them at the Albion and Whim Police Stations.
The Canadian Justice Education Society has collaborated with key international partners, and have facilitated detective training programmes geared at building and strengthening the justice system in Guyana.