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Police inquiry finds detective innocent

Set for promotion: Acting Detective Superintendent Nicholas Pedro

An internal police inquiry into the alleged misconduct of a senior detective who is set to be promoted today has found that he did nothing wrong.

However, those who lodged the complaint against Acting Detective Superintendent Nicholas Pedro said they did not accept the decision and would mount a legal challenge to have it quashed.

Mr Pedro was accused in May by the Civil Justice Advocacy Group of leading a “botched investigation” into a set of missing court recordings. Members of the CJAG, all litigants involved in civil court proceedings, had been fighting to get the audio files for more than seven years, initially hoping to use them to help prepare for further court appearances.

They were repeatedly told by court officials that the recordings did not exist.

The group made a criminal complaint in late 2013 against former Court of Appeal president Edward Zacca and former Supreme Court Registrar Charlene Scott, alleging that the officials were either deceiving them about the non-existence of the recordings, and thereby perverting the course of justice, or had “unlawfully and wilfully destroyed” the files.

The inquiry was led by Mr Pedro, head of Bermuda Police Service’s crime division. He told the CJAG in September 2014 that a “full and comprehensive investigation” carried out by detectives found that the audio recordings never existed and no criminal conduct had taken place.

Earlier this year, the recordings were uncovered during an inquiry by the Information Commissioner’s Office, prompting the CJAG to file its complaint of gross incompetence against Mr Pedro on May 23.

The complaint claimed Mr Pedro’s handling of the matter “not only failed us as victims, but also failed on every other critical point”.

The internal inquiry finished in August when Chief Inspector Jerome Laws, the investigating officer, passed his report to Darrin Simons, the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

The group was then invited to a meeting with both officers on September 10, when Mr Simons said there were no findings of misconduct by Mr Pedro.

The CJAG wrote to him on Wednesday to say: “We expressed in the meeting that we did not accept this decision and we now wish to put on formal record that we categorically disagree with this decision.”

The group questioned whether the deputy commissioner had properly reviewed the report, noting that Mr Laws submitted it to Mr Simons the weekend of August 10-11 and Mr Simons went on leave from August 12 to September 9.

“Did you make the decision of ‘no misconduct’ by Mr Pedro?” asked the CJAG in its e-mail. “Or was the decision made by Acting Deputy Commissioner Martin Weekes while you were on leave? Or was the decision made by someone else?

“We wish to have a definitive answer, in writing, as to who made the decision, as we intend on challenging the decision through the courts by way of judicial review, unless the decision is revoked.”

Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, told The Royal Gazette he recognised “the frustrations of the CJAG and the long process it is taking to establish the full facts surrounding their concerns”.

He added: “However, there remains a number of inquiries still to be undertaken following an independent review commissioned by the Deputy Commissioner. Once the findings from this are established, the Deputy Commissioner will invite the CJAG to meet and discuss.

“The BPS takes seriously all allegations of criminal behaviour, as well as allegations of misconduct in public office. However, it is important to establish and be aware of all the facts before judgments can be made.”

Mr Corbishley said the CJAG raised a number of questions with the BPS after the September 10 meeting, which would be responded to “in due course” by the deputy commissioner.

He added: “In regards to a complaint against Acting Superintendent Pedro, this matter has been investigated in line with the relevant police conduct procedures set to deal with such matters, the result being that no finding of misconduct was established against Acting Superintendent Pedro and this has been communicated to members of the CJAG.”

Mr Pedro, a detective chief inspector, is due to be promoted to Detective Superintendent at a ceremony this afternoon.

He declined to comment for this article.

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