Detective says seized guns were not ‘planted’ by the police
Asenior cop yesterday testified before the Tivoli Enquiry that weapons seized within and outside Tivoli Gardens in the 2010 operation to apprehend then don Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke were not planted by the police.
Superintendent Michael Phipps testified that none of the 141 guns recovered as a result of the security forces’ operation had previously been in the custody of the police.
The senior detective said that all guns recovered prior to the event were specifically marked, and that the forensic department would have realised if guns previously recovered were turned in again.
Phipps gave the evidence in response to questions from commission member Professor Anthony Harriott.
A report by the Office of the Public Defender had said that the enquiry needed to look into whether or not weapons recovered by the police, prior to May 2010, were placed in West Kingston to give the impression that they were being used by gunmen during the operation to apprehend Coke.
Meanwhile, Phipps said that the weapons were still being tested to determine if they are linked to any crimes locally and that work was being done with Jamaica’s international partners to determine if any of the weapons were used to commit crimes in their respective countries.
Phipps said that of the 141 guns recovered, 30 were found outside the West Kingston area. He said that they were still included in the number of guns recovered because intelligence had led the police to believe that they were being used by gunmen in the defence of Coke. He also said that 7,049 assorted rounds of ammunition were seized, as well.
Phipps testified that Coke wasn’t of much help to detectives who wanted to know how he escaped Tivoli Gardens in May 2010.
Phipps, who was being questioned by attorney Peter Champagnie for the Jamaica Defence Force, said that he interviewed Coke on June 23, 2010 at the Up Park Camp, following his arrest that same month.
Phipps said that he asked Coke how he managed to leave Tivoli Gardens and if he left the community to avoid arrest. “Same answer. Same answer,” Phipps said Coke responded, meaning that he would not answer the questions on the advice of his attorneys Tom Tavares-Finson and George Soutar, QC.
Coke had also refused to say whether he was dressed in army fatigue on May 24 or 25. He said when asked his occupation, Coke said he was a businessman.
Phipps testified earlier that Coke answered the most basic questions, such as his name and address, among other things, out of a total of 182.
Members of the press are given a tour of Tivoli Gardens by police and soldiers following the May