Nearly two weeks since his July 16 arraignment embattled jailer Kenson King was relieved, ad infinitum, of active duties at Her Majesty’s Prison last Tuesday July 28.
The 33 year old Park Hill resident appeared before Magistrate Rickie Burnett; he pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of wounding an inmate entrusted to his care and was granted EC$2000.00 bail with one surety.
King told Asbert News Network that the suspension did not take him by surprise. “The suspension was expected. Service Commission had no choice even though they had no hand in the entire matter leading up to me being charged, they had no choice.
“It was just a matter of time – waiting to see how long it would have taken them before they sent a letter of suspension to me because the law – which is the Service Commission regulations – simply states, in lay man terms, once you have a criminal charge against you, you must be on suspension.
So they really had no choice because it would have looked bad on them to see I have a criminal charge but still at work.”
These recent legal woes sprang from an alleged altercation between King and Dorian Mapp, a 23 years old inmate who hails from Victoria Village. Reports are that Mapp responded with a slap when King, in pursuance of his duties, asked him to comply with another colleague’s directive.
King, the prosecution asserts, retaliated with several blows to Mapp’s face and body. This alleged onslaught resulted in the prisoner being treated at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Damages to Mapp’s face was said to have required 5 stitches and an eye specialist.
Unconfirmed reports claim that the video recordings that should be objectively used to convict or vindicate King were surreptitiously erased. While King proclaimed his ignorance as to the security protocols that would manage video footage storage he expressed some confidence in the security team since their input was vital in clearing him of prior physical abuse allegations lodged in 2018.
“That matter happened and we had a little tussle and she tripped and fell. She never went to the Superintendent, she went to the Police – same Sgt. Bowens – and Bowens could have gotten copies of the recording from the security system to show what happened over a week after.
“Now I can’t say much about the security system because I don’t know how it is set to erase, because different security systems operate different ways. So I cannot say what is deleted, what is there from what is not there.
I don’t know how long before something is overwritten so I can’t say anything about that.
“But what I’ll say is this, I am not going to allow anybody to lie on the management of the prison in that way.
What I know of management is that …[they] do not cut corners; especially when it comes to things happening in the jail illegally. So that right there is crap.
“And as a matter of fact – like I said before – where that incident happened across by Associated 1, the camera that is for the front of the yard there cannot pick up anything down there because of the way it is positioned for the front yard where the inmates usually are playing games and so.”
King’s indefinite suspension comes with full pay and was enforced upon receipt of the official written Service Commission’s order. He claimed, “as a matter of fact I’ve not gotten my letter.
They sent a copy to the Superintendent. As head of Prisons because he knows this he had to bring it to my attention and make sure it was enforced…. Tuesday while I was at work, apparently he got the letter the morning. I called him to deal with a matter at the same time he was calling me to report to his office.”
The letter was presented to the father of 5 (“plus one on the way”) who told us he read it in the presence of other senior jailers while Superintendent Brenton Charles supplied him with a photocopy of the communique.
Another note, a pre- action letter promised by one law firm acting on behalf of Vincentian Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, is yet to be received, King confirmed.
A defamation suit was threatened after King published a statement supposedly injurious to Dr. Gonsalves’ reputation. PM Gonsalves, who is also King’s constituency representative in the local Parliament, demanded a published apology along with half month of King’s salary – a Zero Hunger Trust Fund contribution – in lieu of seeking redress in Court.
Although this wounding trial is expected to unfold on October 20, 2020, “there’s no [set] date as to when [King] would return to work.” He anticipates that he must first be acquitted of the charge against him before the Public Service Commission considers reinstating his 15 years old job.
“After the Magistrate has made a decision then they would decide from there. If I’m vindicated I will return to work when they send a letter telling me to go back to work. According to the law once I’ve beaten the case I should return to work.
“If the matter goes against me, for some reason, it would be up to them to decide if I go back to work or not. Because they have to decide if the matter is so grossly out there… like ‘he has brought disrepute to the Service so we have to get rid of him’.”