Cop expected to be charged in gun licence-for-sale probe

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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POLICE were late Friday evening seeking instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to their investigation against two police officers from the Firearms Division of the police service.

Newsday understands the investigative team were engaged with the DPP late Friday. The police service’s legal officers also told attorneys for one of the officers that the investigative team believed charges were imminent.

The team asked for time to complete the process of laying the charges.

The request was made in response to a letter sent earlier on Friday to acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob by the attorney for one of the officers, threatening to go court if his client is not released from custody.

On Friday, attorney Dereck Balliram wrote Jacob asking for the release of his client, a member of the first division, by 3 pm on Friday.

“The officers of the PSB (Professional Standards Bureau) have had more than sufficient time to conduct any investigation into my client, however, at the time of this letter there is no explanation or reason for his continued arrest and detention and none has been provided to him.”

Balliram’s client was arrested on May 3, at his home which was searched by police. His licensed firearms, his service pistol and $25,000 were seized. He has been detained at the St Joseph police station since his arrest.

Balliram said his client was interviewed by officers of the PSB and the Financial Intelligence Bureau in relation to allegations of misbehaviour in office, yet “he remains detained without indication of whether he would be charged or released.”

The attorney also said his client recently had surgery for prostate cancer and was recovering – a fact known to officers, Balliram said.

“Now, he is languishing in a police cell while his medical condition continues to deteriorate.”

Balliram said if his client was not released on Friday, he would apply for a writ of habeas corpus for the commissioner to justify the continued detention of his client.

The police are investigating alleged criminal conduct in the firearms section for the fast-tracking of the application process for firearms users’ licences.

The senior officer was one of two arrested on Tuesday.