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Police officer gets suspended prison sentence

Caught out: former police officer Lakila Hart (File photograph)

A former police officer was given a six-month suspended jail sentence after she admitted abuse of power and offering to supply drugs.

Magistrates’ Court heard that Lakila Hart, 29, accessed licence-plate numbers and contact information through the Bermuda Police Service’s database for personal use and on behalf of others at least three times.

She was also accused of asking another officer, Nicole Outerbridge, to access the BPS database on her behalf on two occasions. Hart was also charged with offering cannabis to a member of the public.

Hart was sentenced for the offences on May 2, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

Ms Outerbridge had denied two counts of unauthorised access to police information, as well as one count of failure to keep confidential information secret and lying on behalf of Hart. The Crown offered no evidence with regard to her case and she was acquitted.

The court heard that Hart, from Paget, accessed confidential police information and persuaded others to do the same on “several occasions” between September 11, 2018 and February 5, 2019.

Yanique Gardener-Brown, for the Crown, noted that the BPS computer system displayed a banner during the log-on process that reminded users that information within the system was confidential and should only be accessed for police matters.

Police arrested Hart on June 7, 2019 while she was on duty at Clifton, the Premier’s official residence, and her three mobile phones were seized as part of the investigation.

During the investigation, police discovered WhatsApp chats on Hart’s phone where she offered cannabis to a member of the public.

Officers contacted the individual for an interview and it was confirmed that Hart offered to sell this person “loud”, a slang term for cannabis, on March 22, 2019.

Police further learnt that Hart gave this individual a marijuana cigarette for free and that it was the first time she had given this person drugs.

Hart was formally charged with the seven offences on February 10, 2020 and faced them in Magistrates’ Court on March 10 that same year.

She initially denied the offences, but admitted on April 4 to four counts of unauthorised access to computer material and two counts of counselling unauthorised access.

She further admitted drug supply on May 2.

The Crown chose to offer no evidence for the first count of unauthorised access.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo sentenced Hart, who has since quit the police service, to six months’ imprisonment for the drug charge and two months’ imprisonment for each of the six counts of computer misuse.

But he suspended them all for 15 months and ordered that they all run concurrent to each other.

Two of the mobile phones, both of which were iPhones, were also forfeited to police as part of the Computer Misuse Act.

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