Chief Magistrate scolds Police Officer for incompetence

Chief Magistrate scolds Police Officer for incompetence

Evidence-handling errors free accused drug trafficker!

BELIZE CITY, Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

By Alton Humes

Mark Sacasa turned 36 years old yesterday, Tuesday, August 28th and had it not been for some grade-A screw-ups on the part of officers from the Anti-Drug Unit (ADU), he’d possibly be spending his birthday, in the Hattieville Prison.

The Police said Sacassa was ‘caught cold’ with 51.3 pounds of marijuana in a vehicle that was stopped at a checkpoint up there on December 7th, 2011. But on Tuesday when the Police Prosecutor should have been fully prepared to send Sacasa to ‘Ramada’, he seemed to have forgotten a cardinal rule of prosecution: make sure everything is in order before you go to court. But the Detective Constable (DC) had made numerous errors in handling the key evidence by holding over the evidence before submitting it to the exhibit-keeper, as well as not sending samples to the testing lab immediately the next day, thereby creating contamination. Even the written statement was botched, describing events that ‘happened in the future’. These errors were grave for the prosecution, allowing Sacasa’s attorney Athur Saldivar to walk free from the charges, following a no-case filing before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith based on the mishandled evidence.

But while Sacasa dodged a major bullet in court, the same cannot be said for that Detective Constable, who was brought before the Chief Magistrate. Magistrate Smith spared no ease as she scolded the detective coldly.

“In all my years as a Magistrate, 7 years in St. Lucia, and 1 year here, I have never encountered a more incompetent Police Officer. My suspicions have been aroused by your incompetence,” said the Chief Magistrate.

She then ordered the Police Prosecutor to write a full report on the case and forward said report to the Officer-in-Charge of the ADU to note the huge errors in Police work.

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Chief Magistrate scolds Police Officer for incompetence

Chief incompetence Magistrate Officer Police scolds

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