A police officer who has allegedly found himself on the wrong side of the law was granted $30 000 bail today in connection with a burglary charge.
Police Constable Deroy Leron Holder, a resident of Mullins Terrace, St Peter, is accused of entering Kaleb Burnett’s house as a trespasser and stealing several items, including cash.
The 40-year-old allegedly stole $2 800 cash and a safe worth $239.96 containing US$10 000 belonging to Burnett; a $2 500 ring belonging to Jalisa Griffith; and US$2 500 belonging to Denys Boyce; as well as two passports worth $300.
The items totaled $30 589.95 and the crime is alleged to have taken place on March 26.
Holder was not allowed to plead to the indictable charge when he appeared before Magistrate Manila Renee on Tuesday morning, and Station Sergeant Cameron Gibbons objected to bail.
The prosecutor pointed to the serious nature of the charge and the fact that Holder is employed in a position that merits trust in society. He said there were also fears he would interfere with the investigations if released at this time.
“The police are seeking another person . . . and are trying to identify the other person without the assistance of the accused, and fear that if granted bail he will interfere with that investigation,” he said.
Although Gibbons admitted that the accused had no prior convictions or outstanding charges, he pointed to “a need to protect society . . . and the strength of the evidence” against Holder.
Attorney-at-law Harry Husbands countered those arguments, saying that his client had been a policeman for the past 12 years and four months and had never been charged before.
He added that there was no basis for the submission that Holder would interfere with the police investigation, as he had been in custody since March 26.
“We had a four-day weekend that everybody was required to be home, so how is it that the police can say that they are seeking another individual…? When he wasn’t around they still couldn’t find him. What is it that they are saying that he is trying to do? This idea of fear that if he is granted bail that he will interfere, what has he done that will suggest that?” the defence attorney queried.
Husbands also submitted that his client was not “fit” to go to prison at this time, given his personal circumstances. He revealed that Holder suffers from back pain, as he was recently involved in an accident; is a “very serious” asthmatic; suffers from acid flux and has stomach ulcers. Holder, he said, also had responsibility for his seven-month-old baby boy and took care of his 91-year-old grandmother.
Submitting that his client was willing to adhere to any bail conditions, Husbands argued that there were other police officers who had appeared in the Magistrates’ Court on more serious matters and were granted bail.
“He is a fit and proper candidate for bail,” the attorney submitted.
After mulling over the submissions, Magistrate Renee ruled in favour of the defence on the grounds that Holder had no previous convictions or outstanding charges and there was no evidence before the court that he would “fail to surrender”.
“I agree with counsel that at this stage there is no strong evidence that he would interfere with this or commit a further offence,” the magistrate said before accepting Holder’s sole surety.
He was, however, ordered to hand over his passport to the court and warned to stay away from the complainant in the matter.
The case against the policeman will continue in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court on November 9.