Coroner: Cops not guilty

The suspect and another man allegedly stole clothes from a store on Coffee Street, San Fernando, on March 27, 1989, but whilst being pursued by police officers, one of them drowned.

Two police officers who went after them are alleged to have known while the bandit was ‘beating up’ in the water under the Cipero Bridge on the Gulf City Link Road, they drove off in the police vehicle.

Senior Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan, yesterday delivered a ruling and found that there was no evidence to find that Corporal Lester Mc Intosh and PC Balbosa, were guilty of any offence in the death of Julien Mohammed alias “Doulgla” .

Mohammed and another man, named Alloy Turner, were suspected of having broken into a store on Coffee Street, San Fernando, and stole clothing during the wee hours of the morning.

Mc Intosh and Balbosa were on patrol and saw two suspects fleeing at the back of the Salvation Army building on Coffee Street. They pursued them and following further investigations, Mohammed and Turner were taken into the police vehicle and accompanied the two police officers to the bridge. They had told Mc Intosh and Balbosa that they hid the clothing under the Cipero Bridge.

It was at about 4 am when Mohammed drowned in the river under the bridge.

Retired Inspector Alexander was commissioned to investigate how Mohammed drowned, and the then Director of Public Prosecutions ordered an inquest, based on an allegation made by Turner in a statement to Alexander, that Mohammed was beating up in the water when Mc Intosh and Balbosa drove off in the police vehicle.

Rambachan’s charge was to sit in the capacity as a coroner and hear evidence from witnesses to determine whether Mc Intosh and Balbosa acted negligently, and if their actions were tantamount to a criminal offence.

The inquest had been pending in the magisterial system for the past 21 years, and several years before Rambachan became a magistrate.

Rambachan then ruled that no witnesses came forward to challenge Mc Intosh’s evidence on how Mohammed drowned.


"Coroner: Cops not guilty"

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