Superintendent of Prisons John Nurse appeared in court today in connection with charges brought against one of his veteran prison officers.
Nurse, who briefly took the witness stand at the Magistrates’ Court in Cane Garden, St Thomas, began giving evidence in the case against Trevor Browne, who is facing four charges related to inciting mutiny or sedition at Her Majesty’s Prison, Dodds, in May 2018.
The Superintendent is expected to continue his testimony when the case resumes on March 19.
Browne, the president of the Prison Officers’ Association, has pleaded not guilty to charges that between May 1 and May 9, he maliciously endeavoured to seduce fellow officers David Davis, Ophneal Austin, Shanell Ellis-Vaughn and Stephenson Trotman from their duties. The charges stem from claims that he tried to encourage those prison staffers to stage a sickout.
Browne first appeared on the charges at the Magistrates’ Court in St Matthias, Christ Church in December 2018, accompanied by his wife Wendy and nearly a dozen fellow officers who turned up in solidarity. Today, the entourage was absent.
The industrial relations consultant for the Association, Senator Caswell Franklyn, was also not present when the case got underway this morning.
At the time of Browne’s first appearance, his attorney Andrew Pilgrim told the Magistrate he was looking forward to full disclosure from the prosecution and how the case would unfold when it came to a trade union leader being allowed to fulfil his role.
Back then, Senator Franklyn said that as far as he knew, no one had ever been charged in Barbados under the legislation used to take Browne before the court.
The prison officer was charged under Section 27, Chapter 168 of the Prison Act, which states that any person who, directly or indirectly, instigates, commands, counsels or solicits any meeting, sedition or disobedience to any lawful command of a prison officer to any other prison officer, or maliciously endeavours to seduce any prison officer from his allegiance or duty, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of one year.
The Act also covers persons who incite or aid desertion and sedition.
Sedition refers to conduct or speech that incites persons to rebel against authority. That rebellion may encourage insurrection against the established order or resistance against established authority. [email protected]