Police investigator reportedly misplaces $21k, putting case at risk of being tossed out; internal probe by CID underway

The Police have launched an internal investigation into the
disappearance of over $21,000 in cash that had been in the custody
of a female officer.
Reports say the money was confiscated because the Police believed
it to be ill-gotten gains.
As a result of the seizure, the accused person has to appear before
the Court to prove that the money was obtained legally and is not
the proceeds of crime.

However, a source tells REAL News that when the forfeiture matter
came up for trial last week in the All Saints Magistrates Court, the
money – an exhibit in the case – could not be presented.
It is alleged that, while giving evidence, the investigating officer
could not produce the EC$18,000 and US$1,500 that had been taken
from the accused. It appears that she had misplaced the funds and
could not remember what she had done with the sum of money.
When she was questioned about it, the source says, the officer
reportedly gave the Court various excuses and attempted to
implicate the now-suspended Chief Magistrate in the matter.

If they are not ready to proceed with a case, the Police cannot keep
large sums that are exhibits without receiving permission to hold
onto the money until trial. And, according to the source, in most
cases a continued detention would be granted for three months at a

Reports say the case is a District B matter; and, at one point, it had
gone before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh since Magistrate Ngaio
Emanuel was on leave. Walsh reportedly had granted the continued
detention for three months.
In requesting further detention of the money, the source explains,
the Court has to be satisfied with the reasons given by the Police,
and the officer, therefore, would have to swear an affidavit.
This means that the money would have remained in the custody of
the Police and not the Court. However, it is alleged that Magistrate
Emanuel failed to take this information into account.

Reports say the female investigator also attempted to blame two
other prosecutors, one of whom was before Magistrate Conliffe
Clarke when the matter first went before the All Saints Court.
It was, indeed, another prosecutor who dealt with the matter at that
time, and her name is on the report that accompanies the case files.
However, since the matter was adjourned, the case did not begin
with that officer, and she would not have had possession of the
Reports say this prosecutor is currently off-island. But she allegedly
has claimed she never received the money, nor does she have any
knowledge of what the investigator might have done with it.
Interestingly, it is alleged that the investigator, at some point earlier,
had signed out the cash from the Exhibit Room; however, there is no
record of her returning the money.
Having been notified of the baffling situation, Superintendent
Lisborn Michael – the officer in charge of the Criminal Investigations
Department – reportedly has initiated a probe. Sources claim he has
appointed an inspector to investigate the disappearance of the
Meanwhile, they also allege that Magistrate Emanuel is threatening
to throw out the case if the cash exhibit is not presented to the Court
on the date of the next hearing. And without the exhibit the case
cannot proceed.

If the Court had ruled that the cash be forfeited to the State, it would
have gone into the Treasury or Consolidated Fund.
But if the magistrate tosses the case, what is likely to happen is that
the Police will have to find the cash to return to the accused person.