By Latrishka Thomas
A man who recently escaped the custody of police officers by running from a prison bus was sentenced to six months at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), despite telling the court that he merely ran from the fully opened bus when the officers transporting him stopped to buy chips.
According to the police, Rikardo Bassawan was being escorted from the All Saints Magistrate’s Court to HMP on May 31 after he was refused bail on a charge of aggravated robbery allegedly committed in Jolly Harbour last Saturday.
But while the prison bus was travelling along Potters Main Road, the 27-year-old complained that the handcuffs on his wrist were too tight.
The officer who was driving the bus is said to have pulled over on the side of the road to allow the other officer seated in the back with the prisoner to loosen the cuffs.
They reported that Bassawan pushed the officer, opened the sliding door and ran into the nearby bushes.
The constables chased him but they were unable to find him.
A wanted bulletin was subsequently issued and, on June 1, the man was recaptured while he was walking in the Villa area.
But according to the defendant, who admitted to the charge of escaping lawful custody, the police’s description of events was not accurate.
“I never had on no handcuff, no foot cuff, nothing,” he told Magistrate Conliffe Clarke.
“The police stop to go get some chips and the bus door was open,” he added.
He even elaborated telling the court that, “the door was entirely open because the police officer that was in the back went to buy some chips”.
Bassawan further explained that he ran home to “kiss my kids”.
He also claimed that it was his girlfriend who contacted the police and he sat waiting for them to arrive.
Although the magistrate noted the escapee’s version of events, he explained to him that “in any event [Bassawan] would have escaped lawful custody”.
He sentenced Bassawan to six months in jail. The defendant is due to return to court on the aggravated robbery charge on September 14.