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Policeman files criminal complaint against six officers

Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A policeman under criminal investigation for allegedly “causing disaffection” among his colleagues has filed a criminal complaint against six other officers, including the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Sergeant Mark Monk and his wife Tricia had their Warwick home raided and their electronic equipment seized by police last December as part of an inquiry into the leaking of a legal document about the divorce of Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police.

The couple claim Mr Monk was wrongly targeted because he challenged the authority of a British officer hired by Mr Corbishley to head the Bermuda Police Service’s professional standards unit, leading to all her decisions having to be reviewed.

Mr Monk denies having anything to do with the leaked document – a court affidavit sworn by Mr Corbishley’s wife – being circulated to all officers within the Bermuda Police Service last December. The matter remains under investigation.

Now he has made a criminal complaint against Mr Corbishley and Darrin Simons, the deputy commissioner, along with four other officers, in relation to the warrant obtained by police before they searched his home.

Police sergeant Windol Thorpe was assigned to look into his allegations last month by assistant commissioner Antoine Daniels.

But Mr Monk said an independent investigator from outside the Bermuda Police Service should be appointed to look at his case.

“How can a low-ranking sergeant investigate the commissioner and deputy commissioner?” he asked.

Mr Monk wrote to Rena Lalgie, the Governor, in March to make a misconduct complaint against Mr Corbishley and Mr Simons but, other than an acknowledgement, has not yet heard back from her.

The officer, who has worked for the BPS since 2004, asked: “Who holds them accountable?”

Mrs Monk, meanwhile, has complained to the Police Complaints Authority about her equipment being taken but said she had not been told whether her allegations were being investigated.

The couple’s problems began in June last year [2020] after allegations of misconduct against Mr Monk were made by two other officers.

He said one involved a traffic stop when a suspect fell off a motorbike and the other involved a female officer claiming he asked her inappropriate questions.

Mr Monk said Superintendent Gillian Murray, who was in charge of professional standards, wrote an assessment of the complaints with which he disagreed.

He discovered that Ms Murray – who was seconded to the BPS from the British Transport Police and has now returned to the UK – did not have the legal authority to carry out disciplinary matters.

He hired a lawyer to get her assessment of his actions declared unlawful and later – after the mistake regarding Ms Murray’s appointment was confirmed by Mr Simons – asked for his legal fees of almost $15,000 to be paid by the BPS.

Mr Corbishley replied that the BPS would not pay the fees.

Ms Murray’s assessment of the original complaints against Mr Monk were reviewed by Mr Simons, who escalated the matter to gross misconduct.

Mr Monk asked Pc Robert Butterfield to act as his “police friend” – a fellow officer who can give advice and representation – though disciplinary proceedings have yet to begin.

Mr Monk and Mr Butterfield are both under suspicion regarding the circulation of the leaked affidavit and the latter’s home was also raided in December.

Mr Butterfield has made several complaints to the Governor, prompting her to appoint an independent investigator to look into Mr Corbishley’s conduct, as reported by The Royal Gazette in March.

One of Mr Butterfield’s allegations was that the commissioner passed information gathered during the criminal inquiry to his personal lawyer to pursue a civil claim for damages against him and Mr Monk.

Mr Butterfield, who is suspended from duty and denies wrongdoing, said yesterday he recently voluntarily attended Southside police station to be interviewed regarding a conduct matter and was "extremely shocked" to be arrested in relation to the leaked affidavit inquiry.

He added that he refused to be interviewed and was bailed to attend the police station at a later date.

Mr Butterfield said: "It is clear to me that my arrest was simply done...to embarrass me..."

Mr Monk went on sick leave in September and has not returned to work. He insisted he had not been formally suspended and had received monthly medical certificates from his doctor due to ill health brought on by the stress of the investigations.

His and his wife’s electronic equipment was returned to them by police at a lawyer’s office on July 1. They claimed there was damage to some of the devices.

A BPS spokesman said: “‘Police sergeant Mark Monk remains suspended from duty whilst allegations to matters of conduct and criminal behaviour are investigated.

“Given the relevant and due process that should be observed the BPS have no further comment to make.”

Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor, said: “I’m afraid we are not able to comment on any investigations that Government House may be engaged in.”

Jeffrey Elkinson, chairman of the Police Complaints Authority, did not respond to a request for comment.

The other officers named in the criminal complaint were Detective Sergeant Paul Ridley, Sergeant Nidol Barker, Detective Superintendent Nicholas Pedro and Ms Murray.