Acquitted district constable wants to return to work

Monday, October 16, 2017

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A district constable, who was recently acquitted after being arrested two years ago for allegedly stealing motor vehicle parts from a vehicle parked at the Bog Walk Police Station, says he harbours no grudges against any of his colleagues.

In fact, he says he is anxious to get back to work.

“I have no ill feelings against anyone because I can't live my life like that. I am just anxious to start back work, as it has been very rough,” Kenton Walker, who has been a district constable for eight years, told the Jamaica Observer in an interview last Tuesday.

The 39-year-old, who was also accused of trying to get the witness in the matter to change his story, was found not guilty on charges of simple larceny and perverting the course of justice in the St Catherine Parish Court on October 5.

Walker was arrested and charged in 2015, following a ruling from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Allegations were that in June 2014, Walker removed parts from a motor vehicle that was being kept on the compound of the Bog Walk Police Station as part of an investigation. He allegedly gave the parts to a man to take to the owner of a cookshop.

It was further alleged that while the cookshop operator was in police custody for receiving stolen property, Walker contacted him and tried to persuade him not to give the police a truthful account of how the stolen vehicle parts came into his possession.

But Walker, who has been suspended from his job for almost three years, told the Observer that he was always confident as he had not removed parts from any vehicle.

Furthermore, he said there is no way he would have conspired with his co-accused, as he had arrested him for unlawful wounding four months before the alleged incident.

But the district constable, while expressing relief that the case was now behind him, said he was not “a hundred per cent happy” because he was currently out of a job and will likely have to wait six months or more to be reinstated.

He also explained that he was last Tuesday laid off from his job at a meat shop, where he was a supervisor.

According to Walker, since his suspension, life has been very difficult for him and his family.

“I was suspended without pay and it took me about a year or more to get a job as a security officer and then after that contract was up, I was home for a while before I got the job at the factory,” he said, explaining that he was also forced to do odd jobs on construction sites and elsewhere.

Along with the pressure that his arrest had placed on his family, Walker said it also prevented him from achieving some of his immediate goals.

“There is a lot that I did not achieve because of what happened to me, but the most important one is owning my own home,” he said.

Walker, unlike most, was fortunate enough to have only spent a week in custody. However, he said it was one of the most terrifying periods of his life.

“Being there I didn't eat for a week. I just drink water and being around other prisoners who knew that I was an officer, I was very fearful,” he recounted.

When asked why he did not eat, Walker said being in a lock-up and not knowing what was going to happen next affected his appetite.

Another area of his life that has suffered on account of his arrest, he said, was his reputation.

“It was destroyed. People looked at me differently,” said Walker, adding that people's attitude towards him have changed a bit since his acquittal.

In the meantime, Walker is of the view that the authorities should look at implementing a system to help police officers when they are arrested, as they are suspended and left to fend for themselves, which is very difficult.

Meanwhile, an elated attorney Walter Melbourne, who had represented Walker, said that his client was found not guilty after he made a no-case submission, which was upheld by the judge.

The lawyer said among several issues that arose during the trial was the credibility of the shop operator. Additionally, he said the police could not properly account for the exhibit, as there were issues with the chain of custody.

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