Stabroek News Sunday

LBI man found dead in BV station cell


A probe has been launched into the death of a prisoner, Julian Harrison, who was found hanging in a cell at the Beterverwa­gting Police Station last Wednesday.

In a statement, the Guyana Police Force confirmed that the body of Harrison, 25, of La Bonne Intention, East Coast Demerara, was found around 16:35 hrs on December 15, 2021.

Harrison, the police said, was arrested earlier that day as a suspect in a break and enter and larceny that was under investigat­ion.

Harrison, who was the only prisoner in the cell, was found hanging by his neck from a metal bar vent by his jersey, which had been stripped into long pieces and then tied together.

Harrison’s body was taken to the GPHC, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His body is at a funeral home awaiting an autopsy.

Over the years, there have been numerous cases where persons have been discovered dead after they were placed in police custody. It is unclear whether any protocols have been adopted to prevent such occurrence­s.

However, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn recently informed the National Assembly that whenever a suspect dies in police custody, an investigat­ion is carried out by the Office of Profession­al Responsibi­lity (OPR).

Benn was responding in writing to a question asked by Opposition Member of Parliament, Geeta Chandan-Edmond about the protocols applied for suspects while in custody at police stations. His answer was circulated last Monday.

Chandan-Edmond particular­ly asked Benn to indicate what protocols are in place when a suspect is found dead while in police custody.

In his response, Benn referred to Standing Order 108, which he said gives the Commission­er of Police the authority to direct the OPR to conduct an investigat­ion.

“Standing Order 108, which governs the operations of the Office of Profession­al Responsibi­lity gives the Commission­er of Police the authority to direct the OPR to investigat­e the death of persons while in police custody,” Benn noted.

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