Police give statement on Nation probe
The following is a statement from the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ag) Crime, Lionel M. Thompson regarding the investigations into the Nation Newspaper story Sex Scene, published on October 26.
Let me commence by contextualising the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) postulates.
In this regard it is important to begin by acknowledging the critical role the Press plays in a liberal democratic society like ours.
With specific reference to the Criminal Justice System, the Press by its transmission of the information helps to ensure that the integrity of the system is not robustly called into question.
In the context of information sharing, some persons believe that freedom of the Press and the rights to freedom of expressions are sacrosanct constitutional rights that can be abridged in very limited circumstances.
Those who posit this view fortify their assertions by cautioning that the constitution and not the state is supreme.
These notions and the need for transparency have compelled the RBPF to offer an explanation for the charges that were brought against officials of the Nation Newspaper, namely, Ms Vivian-Anne Lanora Gittens, Publisher, Mr Sanka Louis Price, journalist, and Roy Ricardo Morris, Editor-In-Chief for breaches of the Protection of Children Act.
As to be expected, I am constrained to speak in general terms as the matters are subjudice.
As I stated previously, the RBPF commenced three parallel and simultaneous investigations into the story that was carried in the Nation Newspaper dated October 26, 2013 captioned Sex Scene.
The charging of the three persons whose names were mentioned earlier represents the conclusion of one of the three investigations.
A second investigation has also been concluded, which resulted in the charging of two children. The other investigation remains open.
Of course, in considering the charges against the members of the Press the RBPF took full cognisance of the debates on the issues as the public saw them.
Obviously, as individuals, members of the RBPF have their own views and as a collective body, the members are agreed that the article forced us as a people to have a conversation as to how we should order our society.
Notwithstanding these views, as a law enforcement institution the RBPF is legally bound to impartially enforce the criminal law, albeit humanely.
In pursuing the three investigations, the RBPF came to the conclusion that there was a sufficiency of evidence to support the charges that were brought.
However, in the circumstances of this matter, were the RBPF to lean to its own understanding some persons would claim and rightfully so that the RBPF is an institution steeped in hubris and with a perverse sense of its public obligation.
Consequently, the RBPF sought the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions on the utility of preferring charges against named individuals and the advice he gave was followed.
Despite these outputs and the desired outcomes, it would be very disingenuous of me if I concluded this segment without expressly stating that the members of the media have been a tremendous ally of the RBPF in its fight against crime and other anti-social or deviant behaviour, and I remain confident that this relation will continue.