01 December, 2008


Why do Magistrates have to be very careful about police evidence? Police officers are only human. They can lose their tempers just as quickly as you or me. They too can become berserk when that rush of adrenalin meets a low-sugar blood level. That is why no Magistrate worth his or her salt would believe police evidence that an accused youth “assaulted a police officer in the execution of his duty”, or “obstructed a police officer in the execution of his duty”, or even, “used indecent language to a police officer” without independent corroborating evidence. I have no statistical evidence to rely on. But, I would say from my own reading, listening and studying, that probably a full fifty percent of such accusations, when there is no independent corroborating evidence, is falsely concocted to cover up wrongful arrests.

It happens in every country, including the USA and in the UK. The video below is a report on a shocking case from the UK. A war hero, out drinking with friends, was mistaken by police for a person who had been reported as being unruly. They saw he had had too much to drink. They assumed that he was the culprit. They rushed him, flung him to the ground, and savagely beat him up when he struggled. All of it was caught on camera. The Magistrates still convicted him of the charges brought against him by the police. It took an appeal for him to be cleared of the false charges. Meanwhile, Lance Corporal Mark Aspinall lost any chance of getting a job, and his life has been ruined.

In the UK, there is an independent Police Complaints Commission. They investigate complaints from the public about misbehaviour on the part of the police. The Commission is swift to report when they find wrongdoing. Police officers can be severely reprimanded, or worse. Yet, despite knowing this, UK police officers still sometimes make the kind of mistake they made in relation to Aspinall.

What chance do members of the Anguillian public have of getting justice when we are mistreated by the police? We have no independent oversight of our police whatsoever. You can try complaining to the Commissioner of Police, or even to the Governor. See what response you get! You will be received politely enough. You will get every assurance that the complaint will be investigated. But, nothing ever comes of it. Not a single police officer to my knowledge has ever been reprimanded, far less prosecuted and punished, for committing any kind of offence in Anguilla. No apology has ever been made to a victim of police misconduct. Charges are dealt with “administratively”. The offending officer is asked to retire or resign quietly in return for the matter being hushed up. The offences that police officers have allegedly committed in Anguilla during my time have ranged from being the cause of persons dying in the police cells to shoplifting and other assorted crimes. Just five years ago, it was common gossip that only certain police officers were permitted to sell cocaine at Johnnos. I have stopped investigating cocaine distribution in Anguilla since I learned how widespread it is, and how dangerous it can be to become too interested in the personalities involved.

Let us hope that Aspinall is properly compensated for the brutal treatment he received.

We cannot be sure that our Anguillian Magistrates will see through fabricated police concoctions of evidence when they occur.

The new Constitution must give Anguillians some sure recourse from this kind of abuse taking place in the future.

By the way, does anyone know when we are going to be shown the “new” draft constitution the Ministers have been deciding on behind our backs? The one that the British are going to be told we have all agreed to?


  1. I'm sorry. The new draft constitution is a confidential document.

  2. Don Mitchell, Hubert Hughes and Eddie Baird are members of the drafting committee

  3. I do not know about Eddie Baird or Hubert Hughes. I have not attended a single meeting of the drafting committee since the day Osborne Fleming abused the privileges of the House to hurl the most offensive insults he could think up at my wife and me. I am not a politician. I do not let such remarks just roll off my back and pretend that all is jolly. Read the blog on the subject if you do not know what I am talking about.

    I have not been able to obtain a digital copy of Mrs Richardson's new draft of her proposed constitution. I have been offered a paper copy. I do not collect or store paper since I gave up my office. Paper is no use to me at this stage of my life. As a result, I have not been able to study or comment on the new constitution, either on line or personally. Other than the politicians and their advisers, no one in Anguilla has any idea what the Chief Minister's drafting committee is up to. [In defence of Mrs Richardson, both she and Ken Hodge, to both of whom I applied for digital copies, have told me that the Attorney-General has instructed them not to distribute digital copies]

    This is all very sad. It is a major divergence from the open process of constitutional consultation that we were promised.

  4. With regards to police abuse: There is real need for some kind of police oversight to allow protection of the Anguilla public. I think most everyone knows some incident of a police officer, or employee, getting "even" with someone or a woman who gets what she wants by having sex with same. There is corruption throughout our Anguilla society and openness is the only way to combat it.

  5. The only reason I can think of not to distribute digital copies is to prevent mass distribution. This is the exact opposite of what was promised us in the constitutional review procedure.

    I realize the Governor is not involved in the constitutional review, but he is is responsible for good governance. Why is he so useless and ineffective?



    As you are fully aware, there is no new draft constitution. As was explained on the Haydn Hughes radio talk show, a template was drawn up , which is being looked at. A draft constitution, as well as copies of the present constitution, will then be widely circulated for extensive discussion and consultation wtih the people of Anguilla.


    We know that you have loudly proclaimed that it is not your function to educate the people of Anguilla. We disagree with you, and say that as Chairman of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission it was or should have been the most fundamental part of you duty/function to educate the people about the constitution. There should have been education first and then consultation.

    The process of writing a constitution can empower the people only if they understand what it is all about, and therefore we are very happy that the new committee has taken the view that the people of Anguilla need to be fully informed and educated on the constitution.

    The Anguilla constution must be done right and that is what is happening. We are looking foward to the process which all concerned Anguillians asked for and which you as chairman of the previous commission refused to do.

    ALL Anguillians disagree with you and we are pleased with the approach taken by the Chief Minister and the new committee.

    As Chariman of the Commission you had the opportunity to do it right, but you refused, because as you said "The Commission is not the that Education Business".

    Again you have the opportuntiy to be part of the constitutional drafting commission but you refuse, giving all kinds of petty excuses.

    It is our expectation that when this process is completed every Anguillian, including school children , will know the provision of Chapter l of Our Constitution, which sets out our Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. When we know what our rights and freedoms are, then we will be able to stand up and defend them even more vigorously.

    So, kindly stop trying to promote mischief by misleading the public. It is very unbecoming of a person of your status. Dispite your past protestations, TRUTH DOES REALLY MATTER!

    Signed:- DIR

  7. Nothing about constitutional review should be confidential. Not meetings, not discussions, not drafts and not templates.

    Recommendations coming out of secret meetings? The entire concept is laughable.


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