Cop charged with PC Gilkes’ murder appears in court

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PC Kristian Genty – Photo courtesy TTPS

The officer charged with the murder of PC Clarence Gilkes in April intends to apply for bail.

On Monday, PC Kristian Genty, 28, of Diego Martin, made his first appearance before a magistrate after he and another police officer, WPC Crystal Williams-Bowman, were charged over the weekend in connection with the shooting at Upper Rich Plain, Diego Martin.

Gilkes, 44, of La Resource Road, D’Abadie, a member of the Western Division Task Force, was among 12 officers of the task force who responded to a report of men armed with rifles at Upper Rich Plain Road on April 22. He later died at hospital.

Genty was charged with Gilkes’s murder. At this first court appearance, his attorneys, Israel B Rajah Khan, Ulric Skerrit, and Arissa Maharaj, asked for disclosure of any material that could be used to make a bail application, and the prosecution’s summary of evidence.

Genty was told of his right to apply to the High Court for bail and the magistrate made the order for the disclosure of information.

Both Genty and Williams-Bowman are also charged with shooting at Jahlano Romney with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The charges were read out to both of them at Monday’s virtual hearing.

Bail for Genty was not dealt with, as Baboolal-Gafoor advised it would be more practicable to deal with it at the High Court.

The magistrate approved the $500,000 bail granted to Williams-Bowman by a justice of the peace on Saturday, but added the condition that she does not communicate with Romney, either directly or indirectly.

The two will return to court on September 5, when they will appear in the Eighth Magistrates’ Court.

They were charged by ACP Joseph Chandoo.

The shooting incident was first reported as an attack on police. In that report, officers claimed the Western Division Task Force confronted Romney on the steps leading to a hilly area and were shot at, in the course of which Romney killed Gilkes.

A large contingent of officers combed the hills of Diego Martin, Carenage, and other areas in search of Romney. He eluded capture by hiding in a cave and later made his way to Venezuela by boat.

WPC Crystal Williams-Bowman – Photo courtesy TTPS

He later surrendered to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and gave a detailed, video-recorded statement before being interviewed by police.

An autopsy said Gilkes was shot in the back of the head and another bullet fired from a police gun hit his temple.

In a statement on its investigations, the PCA said it found a deliberate attempt by officers of the Western Division to mislead acting Commissioner McDonald Jacob, and concluded the police “abused their power.”

The PCA commented, “This incident is one of the clearest examples of abuse of police power that the PCA has investigated to date.”

In a police media release on Saturday, Jacob said he previously assured the public the matter would be investigated thoroughly and the correct procedure would be followed.

He said he was satisfied this was done and promised to keep the public informed about any other matters arising out of the investigation.

He also said the police victim and witness support unit and social work unit wouldprovide counsel and support to the officers and families involved in the incident.

He also said the police Social and Welfare Association will assist by providing legal support to the police officers.

Also assisting in the investigations were senior Supt Suzette Martin, of the Professional Standards Bureau, acting Sgt Mohammed, acting Cpl Joefield, WPCs Charles and Mc Lean, acting W/Cpl Sampson and PC Heera.