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Magistrate accuses police of delaying investigation

Khamisi Tokunbo has urged police to launch an investigation into allegations of misconduct against two officers without “further procrastination or incompetence”. (File photograph)

A magistrate has appealed to police to launch an investigation into allegations of misconduct against two officers without “further procrastination or incompetence”.

Khamisi Tokunbo claimed the Bermuda Police Service had used “delay tactics” to avoid looking into his complaint against Pc Colin Mill and Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, first made last year.

Mr Tokunbo was arrested by Pc Mill after a car crash in Paget on January 19, 2019.

He was charged with failure to provide a breath test. He denied the offence.

The case against the magistrate was dismissed in October that year after Pc Mill was found to be biased and his arrest of Mr Tokunbo illegal.

Lawyers for Mr Tokunbo sent a complaint about Pc Mill and Mr Cardwell, of the Tactical Support Division, to Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley in December, followed by an amended version in March.

Detective Chief Inspector Arthur Glasford, the new head of Bermuda Police Service’s professional standards department, wrote on April 27 to confirm receipt of the complaint and that it would be forwarded to the independent Police Complaints Authority.

But he said any inquiry into the allegations “may be paused” until a separate civil claim Mr Tokunbo filed against the Commissioner of Police for unlawful arrest was dealt with by the Supreme Court.

Victoria Greening, Mr Tokunbo’s lawyer, replied on April 29: “Your internal investigation does not interfere in any way, shape or form with our client’s civil suit for damages in relation to the magistrate’s judgment that ruled our client’s arrest was unlawful.

“It is separate and distinct from the disciplinary complaint and it is obvious that to suggest such to be the case amounts to nothing more than delay tactics.”

Ms Greening, of Resolution Chambers, added: “We request once more that our client’s complaint be fully and thoroughly investigated, with no further procrastination or incompetence.”

The Royal Gazette has seen the seven-page complaint.

It asked for Pc Mill to be investigated for unlawful arrest, biased treatment and unprofessional conduct towards Mr Tokunbo, as well as for involvement with John Jefferis, a taxi driver who was at the scene of the crash.

The officer’s body cam picked up audio of him telling Mr Jefferis he was “loath” to let someone like Mr Tokunbo “get away with s**t”.

The complaint quoted the October 2019 ruling by Cayman magistrate Valdis Foldats, who said Pc Mill was “not a credible witness” and that his investigation was tainted by bias.

Mr Glasford asked in his April 27 letter and again in a May 10 letter for Mr Tokunbo to meet police to discuss his complaint.

But Ms Greening wrote in response this week that it was beyond Mr Glasford’s powers to require Mr Tokunbo to attend a meeting and that he had a duty to initiate an inquiry without delay.

She added: “Failure to comply without delay will result in our client having no other recourse than to file judicial review proceedings against you.”

A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “This matter is currently the subject of civil court action.

“As such, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

Mr Cardwell said he was unaware of any complaint.

Pc Mill did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment and nor did Jeffrey Elkinson, chairman of the Police Complaints Authority.