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Still no answers for Crockwell family

The family of the late MP Shawn Crockwell has been waiting more than two years for the outcome of an inquiry into alleged police misconduct after his sudden death, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

The former Cabinet minister's sister, Juanae Crockwell, lodged an official complaint on behalf of the family with the Commissioner of Police on July 13, 2017, according to correspondence shared with the newspaper by an anonymous source.

Police confirmed publicly in September 2017 they were investigating complaints of “inappropriately disclosed” images, after documents were circulated online purportedly showing a booking at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York for Mr Crockwell, along with fellow politicians David Burt, Zane DeSilva and Mark Pettingill.

The last time Ms Crockwell received any update on her complaint from Bermuda Police Service was more than a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Police Complaints Authority, which took over the misconduct inquiry this year, has made no contact with her, according to the source.

Mr Crockwell was found dead in his home on June 10, 2017. Police officers who attended the scene seized personal items belonging to him, including his mobile phone, a briefcase and a laptop.

Ms Crockwell wrote in her complaint that confidential information held in the phone and briefcase was posted on Facebook on July 11, 2017.

“It appears that a member of the Bermuda Police Service has taken photographs of documents contained in Shawn's briefcase, as well as an e-mail found in his mobile phone, whilst both items were in police custody, and subsequently shared it with a member(s) of the public,” she alleged.

She wrote that such actions breached the Police (Conduct) Orders 2016 and the Electronic Communications Act 2011.

Ms Crockwell wrote: “This kind of breach of police conduct cannot be excused or overlooked. It questions the integrity of the entire police service and diminishes the quality of work on this investigation.”

The correspondence shows that Ms Crockwell sought updates on the inquiry from police in February, June and July last year.

Detective Sergeant Brian Mello e-mailed her on August 20, 2018, to say the Police Conduct Unit had investigated the matter and passed the file to the deputy police commissioner.

“Once he is satisfied, the matter will be forwarded to the Police Complaints Authority, as they are the oversight body for all complaints against police,” the officer wrote.

It is understood Ms Crockwell heard nothing further. The correspondence shows she followed up again in February this year.

On March 1, Mr Mello e-mailed that he would obtain an update and provide it to her. It is understood Ms Crockwell has not heard anything since.

Assistant Police Commissioner Antoine Daniels said in a statement yesterday: “If a disclosure of this nature was made by a member of police staff, then it would constitute a breach of our standards of professional behaviour.

“The BPS treat allegations seriously. As such, a comprehensive internal investigation was conducted into this complaint and the findings have been forwarded to the Police Complaints Authority for their review and comments.”

A BPS spokesman confirmed the file was passed to the PCA earlier this year.

The spokesman said the suspension of a police officer on Tuesday in relation to serious allegations that included unlawful access and sharing of police information was not connected to the complaint regarding Mr Crockwell.

Attempts to get an update from the PCA were unsuccessful.

An assistant to chairman Jeffrey Elkinson said: “He [Mr Elkinson] has recused himself from dealing with this matter.”

Several other PCA board members did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.

On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on what we consider to be a controversial or contentious story. 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.

Sudden death: Shawn Crockwell (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published September 27, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated September 27, 2019 at 8:38 am)

Still no answers for Crockwell family

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