Min. Mark King – photo file - (pictured above entering court)
Yesterday, we were caught by surprise when Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie made a gutsy move and ordered the immediate interdiction of Police Constable Nelson Ramos attached to the Corozal Police Department after he refused to testify against Minister of State Mark King in Corozal’s magistrate court.
No investigation was carried out against the second officer who refused to identify Mark King from the witness dock in the same case.
However, members of the Professional Standards Branch, which is an internal branch of the police department who investigate their own, found sufficient evidence to interdict P.C. Ramos yesterday.
Minister Mark King 38, charged with multiple counts of a criminal nature against a police officer namely 1) aggravated assault 2) threatening words 2) disorderly conduct had been freed of all charges after the arresting officer and complainant Constable Nelson Ramos in a bizarre move announced to the court that he was withdrawing all charges against the King on Tuesday June 18th.
Since there was no complainant or witness left in the case, the presiding magistrate, Clive Lino, said that there was no sufficient evidence to continue the case, and with that King walked out of court a free man.
The official police report dated February 6th 2013 says that “at about 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday February 5th, he (Constable Nelson Ramos) was performing special duties at the Princess Casino when he saw Diego Witz, Jr. attempting to punch one of the security guards at the casino. He intervened but was allegedly punched by Diego Witz Jr. As a result he placed Diego Witz under arrest.”
Nelson Ramos PC#1021, “swore to an information and complaint,” and formally arrested and charged Diego Witz, Jr. for the offence of assaulting a police officer”.
While waiting at the police booth for the police mobile unit, states the report, Mark King, Minister of State who is also responsible for the gangs in Belize allegedly intervened to have Witz released. Witz was placed in the pan of the police mobile unit and Minister Mark King also reportedly jumped into the pan of the unit, where the Minister Mark King allegedly assaulted and threatened the arresting officer. Police then arrested and charged Mark King.
Diego Witz was taken to the Corozal Magistrate Court for allegedly punching police officer Nelson Ramos outside the Princess Casino while he attempted to restrain the allegedly out of control Minister King.
He pleaded not guilty and was offered bail of four thousand dollars and a surety of the same amount.
When King and Witz were taken to the Corozal Police Station, however, according to the police, King was threatening the officer. King was then charged with aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct. The Prime Minister Dean Barrow upon hearing of Mark King’s belligerent behaviour, suspended him from Cabinet without pay for 3 months. Sometime we view as a mere slap on the wrist.
The case against King was prosecuted by Assistant Superintendent of Police Daniel Arzu. In presenting the case, he called four witnesses including PC Ramos who was the arresting officer and the complainant.
In a bizarre turn of events when PC Ramos took the witness stand he stunned everyone when he asked the court that his testimony be withdrawn, saying that he no longer would pursue the case.
This completely knocked the wind out of the prosecutor’s case since he now was dealing with a hostile witness and no longer had the arresting officer to assist him. Another second blow to the prosecution was when three other witnesses including, two security guards from the casino and another police officer were unable to identify King from the stand as the man who was brought into the station the early morning of Tuesday Feb 5 2013.
Does this give any incline of collusion? We wonder if PC Ramos in order to save his job may just lose his job!
After their testimonies, the prosecution was unable to continue and Magistrate Clive Lino then dismissed the case for lack of evidence based on the withdrawal of the officer’s testimony.
The Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie was outraged with the outcome of the case as was noted early this week at a police press conference in Belmopan.
Commissioner Whylie stated that the officer was a police officer and did not have the authority to withdraw the case, or refuse to testify. He said he viewed the matter seriously and immediately dispatched the PSB to Corozal.
Commissioner Whylie stated that what was done in court was a breach of public trust and he would ensure that all measures be taken to ensure that such a breach is not committed again.
He said that Assistant Commissioner Noel Leal, the commander of the Professional Standards Branch (PSB) had been sent to Corozal to head an internal investigation and he would make a recommendation to him at its conclusion.
Commissioner said he would seek legal advice but did not believe that King could be re-arrested and tried again for the offences.
Assistant Commissioner Leal has concluded his investigation yesterday and Compol Whylie ordered an immediate interdiction from duty of Constable Nelson Ramos who refused to testify against Minister King. Joseph Myvette, Northern Regional Zone Commander has been appointed to prosecute Ramos and the case in the Police Tribunal. The case has been adjourned to next Wednesday June 26th.
Courtesy: Corozal Daily (…Sometimes)