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Former RBR commander jailed six months for corruption

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Guilty: former Royal Bermuda Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley has been jailed for six months (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A former commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment who admitted a charge of official corruption has today been jailed for six months.

David Curley, 55, had pleaded guilty in July to asking the late Justin Williams, for a nomination to join the Order of St John in exchange for firearms and an appointment as legal adviser to the regiment.

The offence took place over several months in 2015 before Curley’s promotion to head of the RBR with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in February 2016.

At a hearing yesterday, Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe sentenced Curley to 18 months behind bars, with 12 of those months to be suspended for a year.

Mr Justice Wolffe said he thought a term of imprisonment was necessary to send out a deterrent message.

Prosecutors had pushed for a custodial sentence of between 18 months and three years but said they would not object to that sentence being suspended if Curley was given additional punishments such as community service.

Immediately after sentence was passed, Curley’s lawyer, Mark Pettingill, asked if bail could be granted so that he could file an appeal.

But Alan Richards, for the Crown, objected to that request, arguing that bail could only be granted once an appeal had been submitted. Mr Justice Wolffe agreed.

Curley wearing a dark blue suit, was then led away by two prison security guards.

At a pre-sentence hearing last month, Curley, a father of two, described how his crime had affected his life.

After serving in the regiment for 30 years, he was placed on leave in 2019. He has since been unable to find work and his marriage ended.

He said: “You try to take one day at a time but it’s difficult to do that. I think about it every day – it’s a horrible place to be.”

After Curley was sentenced, the Governor, Rena Lalgie, said that his actions did not reflect the values of the regiment.

Ms Lalgie said: “I am aware of the sentencing today of the former commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Mr David Curley.

“In light of Mr Curley's admission of guilt to the charge of official corruption, I, as Commander-in-Chief of the regiment, dismissed Mr Curley on September 8, 2022 as a man of the Royal Bermuda Regiment and revoked his entitlement of rank in accordance with Section 31 of the Defence Act 1965.

“I remain confident that this individual’s actions are not reflective of the values and standards of those who serve.

“This incident does not diminish the pride that we rightly have in our regiment.”

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

David Curley, former Royal Bermuda Regiment Commanding Officer, was sentenced after pleading guilty to official corruption. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)