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Commissioner of Police: “I trust the DPP”

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Posted: Monday, May 31, 2021. 4:41 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Earlier today, before the announcement of a charge of manslaughter for Jasmine Hartin, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said he put his trust in Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal to determine the proper course of action in the death of Superintendent of Police, Henry Jemmott.

“I trust the competence of the DPP. We all know that she is an exceptional prosecutor; she is an exceptional DPP. And I am sure that after having looked at all the evidence that we have presented to her, she is going to come to a position in terms of how we proceed,” the Commissioner told reporters this morning in Belmopan.

As to an idea of exactly what happened amid reports that Hartin has described the shooting as “accidental,” the Commissioner said, “We cannot say we have a clear understanding because we were not there; the only two persons who could have said that to us are the deceased and Miss Hartin. We know that the deceased is dead, he cannot speak for himself; dead man carries no tales. Miss Hartin has given her version of what she said transpired; it is now for a matter for the DPP to decide on how we proceed.”

Commissioner Williams assigned two senior investigators from Belize City, the officer commanding overall Crimes Investigation Branch Senior Superintendent Alejandro Cowo and Inspector Cawich to lead the investigation.

After initially not cooperating, Hartin provided a statement under caution and police gathered other statements and evidence from responders in the area.

The post-mortem examination determined that Supt. Jemmott’s fatal injury was not consistent with suicide, i.e., he did not point the gun at himself or forced someone to do it for him. Someone, most likely Miss Hartin, is believed to have pulled the trigger. Whether it was done deliberately, accidentally, by provocation, etc., was and is to be determined by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In related news, the Department is preparing an official funeral for Supt. Jemmott in a few days in Dangriga. The Commissioner explained he had spoken with his family today and expressed the Department’s condolences for their loss and determination to get to the bottom of the matter.

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