While Carly John, husband of opposition New Democratic party (NDP) Senator Shevorn John faces charges of assaulting two police officers, and resisting arrest, his attorney Kay Bacchus-Baptiste was expecting that an attempted murder charge would have been brought against Police Constable 700 Verrol Sam.
John, 47 year old resident of Owia appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after being charged with assaulting a female police officer, Rocket Coombs causing her actual bodily harm; assaulting Constable 700 Verrol Sam, he being a police officer acting in due execution of his duties; and resisting arrest.
The charges stemmed from an incident, during a protest action in front of the Kingstown Vegetable Market on Thursday, August 9.
John pleaded not guilty to the charges during his appearance before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett on Tuesday.
But Bacchus-Baptiste told the Court she expected to see a charge of attempted murder brought against PC Verrol Sam, as her client was put in a choke hold during that incident, and could have died. She said that John had to be taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital where he received medical attention, and is still suffering from the effects of what happened.
In a letter dated September 13, 2021, and addressed to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Sejilla McDowall, Bacchus-Baptiste called on Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security; Commissioner of Police Colin John; and the Director of Public Prosecutions to: immediately, unreservedly condemn and abolish any choke-holding of citizens by police; investigate and issue maximum charges against PC Sam, leading to his dismissal from the police force; liaise with the Honourable Attorney General to adequately compensate Carly John for his injuries and loss; release a statement reinforcing the provisions of the Police Act and Regulations, demanding that all police officers strictly adhere or face the consequences; condemn the spate of spurious crimes levied against protesters for exercising the right to demonstrate – criminal charges must not be used as a means to intimidate and stifle lawful protest; and acknowledge receipt of this letter, and effectively respond to it within seven days hereafter.
In the matter involving the senator’s husband, the Senior Magistrate has ordered disclosure by October 19, and the matter has been adjourned to January 26, 2022.