A Park Hill man employed with Her Majesty’s Prisons as a prison officer was, for the second time in almost two months, picked up by members of the local constabulary on Wednesday July 15.
Reports are that Kenson King was on duty at the Kingstown prison campus when he was taken into custody. He was later charged in connection to allegations that he wounded an inmate entrusted to his care. Arraignment was scheduled for July 16 at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown.
Asbert News Network reached out to King’s lawyer Jomo ‘Sanga’ Thomas who opined, “it’s part of a pattern of harassment against Mr. King. He is a prison officer. The State authorities know where to find him. He is not going anywhere. They could do their necessary investigation and then arrest him if they find reasonable cause to do so.
“There is absolutely no reason to detain him pending the outcome of police investigation. From a jurisdictional standpoint, this latest police action regarding Mr. King amounts to State overreach.”
We have been reliably informed that the inmate King is accused of wounding instigated the altercation when he slapped King while he, King was on duty.
The prison officer retaliated in apparent self-defense and inflicted at least one swollen eye on the alleged offending inmate. Moreover the inmate is said to have admitted to starting the fight while acknowledging awareness of the infraction in the presence of senior prison officials.
According to our source, the lead investigator visited the prison compound on several occasions but was insistent that prison officer King journey to the Criminal Investigations Department to “give a statement under caution.”
We were also told that King was equally adamant that the incident report he lodged with his superiors ought to have been sufficient information for the police.
Sources allege that the lawyer who ostensibly wrote to King complaining of his client’s ill-treatment pushed for police involvement in the matter.
King recently shot to national prominence after he was arrested for obscure reasons.
To date no charges have been filed against him since his May 22 detainment which lasted for approximately 32 hours – some 16 hours shy of the mandatory 48 hours that a person can be held without charges being filed.
King’s lawyer confirmed that the promised legal action to challenge the police’s “unlawful detention” is still being prepared and again assured ANN that “it would be brought.”
Sometime after news broke of King’s pending legal action against the State, Vincentian Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves instructed his lawyer to demand an apology from his 33-year-old constituent.
Additionally PM Gonsalves ordered King to pay half of a month’s salary into the national Zero Hungry fund to avoid costly defamation litigation.
King was reported as claiming to have not received any communications from PM Gonsalves’ lawyer even as a local publication reported that he was carbon copied to the same letter that was sent to The Vincentian Newspaper amongst others.
It is unclear whether that letter finally made its way to the young prison officer as the only thing Thomas, his lawyer, said in that regard was, “he has never instructed us on that matter.”
King’s July 15 arrest came one day before the second installment of the New Democratic Party’s Youth Voices virtual forum was slated to air on Facebook. Although he was not scheduled to speak at this forum, the Park Hill man was well received when he appeared on the first edition with his clarion call for Vincentians to rebel against perceived injustices condoned by the Unity Labor Party led government.
Meanwhile Public Service Union boss Elroy Boucher condemned the approach taken by the police in an exclusive ANN interview. He characterized the police’s involvement as a violation of the public service regulations. Boucher was yet to be brought up to speed on the full details regarding the arrest and inciting incident.
However, he opined, “we know how the Public Service Commission sits, it is unlikely that a matter like that, having just occurred, that they would be able to take such an action like calling in the police.” The alleged arrest of a Union member at his place of work, he said, is of grave concern to the Public Service Union.