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Oct 29, 2007

Forgetful cops charged with Perjury

Story PictureTwo police officers whose failure to identify a defendant resulted in his acquittal were this morning arraigned before Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie. The two officers, forty-six year old Sergeant Anthony Polonio of Halfmoon Avenue, Belmopan, and forty-five year old Constable Darius Ramos of Faber’s Road in Belize City, were interdicted last Friday from active police duty and criminally charged today with Committing Perjury and Contradicting Previous Evidence. This was in connection with their testimony in the manslaughter trial of Ben Bou-Nahra for the shooting death of Shawn Copious. The officers, who previously told prosecutors that they could identify Bou-Nahra, had a change of heart in court, testifying that they could not recognise the defendant. Copious was shot around four in the morning of September seventeenth, 2005 at Bou-Nahra’s residence at the Corner of Meighan Avenue and Lottie Waight Street. He received wounds to the back and buttocks. In a caution statement given by Bou-Nahra not long after, he admitted to shooting Copious in self defense. He said when he tried to find out what Copious was doing in his yard, the young man approached him in a menacing manner. However, that caution statement disappeared from the case file last October. This morning, both Polonio and Ramos were granted bail of six thousand dollars each after Prosecutor, Sergeant Ludwig Castillo, did not object. They were ordered to reappear before the Chief Magistrate on December seventeenth. A third officer who developed amnesia at the trial, Inspector Clement Cacho, was interdicted from duty late Friday and was demoted to the rank of sergeant. Up to the time of his interdiction, Cacho was acting as the Officer Commanding the Crimes Investigations Branch at the Queen Street Police Station. His fate will be determined by the Police Internal Affairs Unit following an investigation. Meanwhile, a fourth officer who had been named, Wilfred Warrior, was not placed on interdiction because he was not asked to identify the accused under oath. Cacho, Ramos and Polonio were placed on interdiction on the recommendation of lead investigator in the perjury case, Senior Superintendent Keith Lino. Meanwhile, contrary to what Deputy Officer Commanding Eastern Division Police Station, Chester Williams, told the media last Friday, today Prosecutor in the Bou-Nahra case, Tracey Sosa, told News Five that Williams could not have been called to identify Bou-Nahra because he was not the officer who dealt with the accused at the scene. Sosa said Williams was the man who recorded Bou-Nahra’s caution statement at the C.I.B. office after the shooting occurred. As we have reported, that document went missing. The two cops charged with perjury, Anthony Polonio and Darius Ramos, were represented in court today by Senior Counsel, Simeon Sampson.

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