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Case adjourned against police officer and fellow defendant accused of bribing rape victim to drop case

By Latrishka Thomas

Latrishka.thomas@antiguaobserver.com

The committal hearing for two men accused of perverting the course of justice after they allegedly bribed a young girl to drop a case of rape has been adjourned once again.

It is said that a police officer offered money to the 18-year-old girl he was charged with raping in exchange for her requesting that the legal action against him be discontinued.

It is further alleged that after she received several calls from the accused, the victim wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and asked to withdraw the case.

The DPP, however, denied her request and directed that the matter should proceed to trial in the High Court.

But upon hearing of the new development, the case was withdrawn by Justice Iain Morley in the High Court in May last year.

The DPP is said to be the one who directed the police to investigate the circumstances under which the complainant decided to request that the matter should be dropped, and the alleged bribery attempt came to light.

The second man accused of perverting the court of justice is a businessman who allegedly asked the victim’s father to persuade her mother to have the case thrown out.

He reportedly offered to give the victim a scholarship if his request was met.

In December 2020, the two men appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh on the perverting the course of justice charge, and they were denied bail despite the robust efforts of one of the lawyers in the case, Wendel Robinson.

Robinson and Andrew O’Kola, the lawyer representing the officer, then applied for bail in the High Court and it was granted by Justice Morley.

The matter was adjourned for committal until February 22, but yesterday it was adjourned for the final time until May 10.

The lawyers are of the opinion that the officer’s suspension from the police force should have been extended since the rape case was withdrawn almost a year ago.

O’Kola disclosed that, as a result, he made an application for judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of Police to continue his suspension.

The court has considered the application and has since granted leave for him to file the relevant papers.

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