Jensen La Vende
INVESTIGATORS probing the deaths of two murder suspects, who died in police custody, are liaising with the Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard after conducting an identification parade with the head of the Special Operations Response Team Insp Mark Hernandez on Saturday.
Investigators told Newsday that they were able to get people matching Hernandez’s description to take part in an identification parade on Saturday after encountering difficulties on Friday.
A woman police constable, also attached to the elite unit, is also expected to be placed on an identification parade on Saturday. Her attorneys have filed a writ of habeas corpus seeking an explanation from the State about her continued detention and are awaiting a court hearing.
Late Friday night, Hernandez’s attorneys – Alexia Romero, Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt and John Heath – filed a similar application and during an emergency hearing Justice Kevin Ramcharan approved the legal action and ordered the police to bring Hernandez to court. He fixed the matter to be heard before Justice Betsy Ann Peterson-Lambert on Monday.
Both Hernandez and the female officer have been in custody since Wednesday after being questioned by members of the Professional Standards Bureau.
Hernandez is a nominee for the post of Deputy Commissioner of Police which is tabled before Parliament.
A total of 22 officers attached to SORT have been questioned by investigators in the probe.
Investigators took Hernandez from his home on Wednesday in a wide-ranging investigation into the deaths of Andrew “Solo” Morris and Joel Balcon – both of whom were suspects in the abduction and subsequent murder of court clerk Andrea Bharatt.
SORT held the two on January 30. Morris died two days after being arrested and Balcon eight days later. Their relatives claimed police had beaten them to death. Autopsies concluded they both died from blunt force trauma.
Bharatt went missing on January 29 and her decomposing body was found in the Heights of Aripo on February 4.
Negus George has been charged with her murder.