GUEST COLUMN: Delano Forbes – flight to liberty

Delano Forbes


From that which was well-known among the law enforcement community, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of most Police Services, particularly, those within the British Commonwealth are staffed with some of the most ‘…professionally well-trained men and women. They are highly intelligent, smart and quick-witted.’ Given their expertise and investigative skills, they are referred to as the ‘…Crème -De-La- Crème’ of the Department. Whether or not sitting behind office desks conducting interviews or on the field investigating, personal appearance matters. Thus, personnel are usually smartly attired in civilian clothing. Before the Magistracy, Judges and Juries, they are properly attired, with males adorned in jackets and ties, while their female counterparts are exquisitely dressed in the finest of women apparel. Competency, however, is not about ‘…personality appearances and halo effect of attire.’ These were never known to enhance ‘…intelligence; …smartness and professional adeptness.’

Every once in a while law enforcement comes under public scrutiny. They are mirrored through the media and are given widespread coverage, resulting in negative publicity, for actions or inactions that are, invariably mired in controversy or ‘…Rife with Speculations.’ There are usually demands for answers and explanations and decisive actions against those who may have breached public trust, or appeared careless or negligent in discharging their official duties. When there were no answers or answers starved for truthfulness, they often had provoked angst, while generating intense and heated public discussions. These, undoubtedly, have been the situation, following the ‘’’Miraculous Escape’ of self-confessed triple-murder accused Delano Forbes 23 [February 12, 2018]. Where family-connections were known, this had angered residents of the ‘…Swetes and Parham communities,’ saturating their poor little hearts with fear, anxiety and uneasiness.

Whether judiciously or injudiciously described as a ‘…blood-drinking human vampire and serial killer,’ when un-convicted, self-confessed triple-murder accused reportedly took ‘…Flight To Liberty,’ not only residents of Swetes and surrounding communities apprehended fear, but also members of the wider society. In the absence of Police Commissioner Wendell Robinson, then on ‘…overseas official duties,’ Deputy Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney had found himself in one of the most awkward and unenviable positions of his career, having to deal with an unprecedented development of ‘…monumental historical seriousness.’ Given the description of the escapee, they themselves had good reasons to believe that public safety had been compromised.

Responding to public and ministerial concerns, the Deputy had bravely and honestly admitted to operational fallibilities, before issuing ‘…armed and dangerous warnings to the populace’ [ABS TV: February 13, 2018]. There are pending committal proceedings,’ on charges that he had murdered three adult males, (i) ‘…Lisue ‘Dirty’ Samuel [February 2017]; (ii) …Shawn Henry 41 [May 2017]; and (iii) …Wilfred ‘Bongo’ Williams 59 [December 11, 2017]. Though law enforcement had made no public announcement, a possible fourth victim was identified as a former Swetes resident ‘…Caleb Samuel 72. The grotesque sight of his headless body was discovered in the Bendals Body Pond area [December 11, 2016]. Consequent upon these discoveries, Police authorities may have caused public alarm, demonizing the accused as a ‘…Serial killer.’ They had likened his blood-drinking appetite, to the ‘…days of vampires’ [Telesur: December 27, 2017]. He allegedly slit victim’s throat, and savoring the taste of hot human blood, drank it like ‘…Wadadli Rum Punch.’

That which have always been ‘…Grave Concerns’ to criminal investigators are, ‘…Evidence supporting fact in issue and evidence relevant to the fact in issue; that is to say, ‘…the accused had murdered the three deceased.’ The investigators were attempting to gather more of that which supplies proof- possible exhibits. They knew that ‘…without more’ to show to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that there was evidence that showed ‘…reasonable prospect of conviction of the accused for the grisly triple- murders.’ The escape of the accused appeared not to have advanced the investigation or strengthen the case against him.

Delano Forbes was never a ‘…Person of Wanted Interest’ to investigators.’ The vexatious security lapses and the irony of it, is that the ‘…deadly triple-murder accused was securely confined at the Maximum Security Unit at Her Majesty’s Prison,’ pending committal proceedings [March 17, 2018]. The story of the accused ‘…thirst for human blood’ may have started when media reports quoted acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Everton Jeffers as saying ‘…Two bottles of blood were found at his home.’ Law enforcement had also described the triple-murder-accused as a ‘…Serial killer.’ This may also have galvanized public belief when police authorities further described him as being ‘…vampiric’ [Telesur: December 27, 2017]. At a subsequent Press conference, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Everton Jeffers revealed that ‘…After investigations that have led them to believe he was responsible for three unsolved killings,’ the police had visited the accused’ home where ‘…two small bottles that appeared to be blood were found’ [Observer Media: December 23, 2017]. Then ironically, he slipped away from their apparent ‘…Unrestrained Custody,’ thereby creating fear in the citizenry.

While investigators may have been silently singing ‘…Escape on my mind’ or even ‘…Georgia always on my mind’ [Ray Charles: 1978], the accused may also have been quietly saying ‘…You Don’t Know Me’ [Ray Charles: 1962: You Tube]. Absconsion appeared to have been the farthest consideration from minds that may have been stressed from lethargy. Equally as much as the investigators wanted to retrieve the ‘…stashed blood’ not only that the accused wanted it for future consumption but also to escape from their company. Having completed ‘…three months in solitary confinement on remand,’ the accused would have had ample time to ‘…conjure up a Houdini-like escape plan.’ Investigators shall have had on their mind‘…Escape is on his mind.’ Further, they appeared to have completely ignored the legal maxim, ‘…No one is obliged to incriminate himself in criminal wrongdoing.’ This has been firmly embedded in ‘…British Jurisprudence’ [Wikipedia], and the constitutional presumption that ‘…A person charged with a criminal offence is innocent until proved guilty’ [ANU: 1981: Section 15 (2)].

It has been the experience that people, whose liberty had been restrained, were always ready to inflict injuries to free themselves to make good their escape from custody. This has always been good reasons for prison authorities and police officers to take the necessary precautions. Seemingly ignoring the ‘…Beware of Subterfuge’ principle, the accused appeared to have employed an unsophisticated deceptive ploy, convincing investigators that he had ‘…bottles of human blood stashed away in bushes surrounding his community.’ He had induced in them a ‘…false sense of belief’ that retrieval of the ‘…stashed bottles of blood and concealed articles,’ would have strengthened the cases against him. Unsuspecting of a getaway ploy, optimistically overwhelmed, they had fallen victims to susceptibility. Commissioner of Police Wendell Robinson may very well substitute these words ‘…unprecedented stupidity.’ Among the first training lessons is a caution that states, ‘…Beware of Subterfuge’ (trick/deception). Personal safety and prisoner control are dependent upon this caution.

Therefore, in dealing with high and low-risk suspects, personnel have been instructed, with constant on-the-job reminders that in conjuring-up schemes, there is but one objective ‘…Escape from Custody,’ and one clear possibility ‘…inflicting injuries in resisting arrest.’ Personnel are forewarned that since criminal suspects value their liberties, it is never outside their thoughts to ‘…Flee from Justice.’ It has been for these reasons that at first instance contact,’ criminal suspects shall be physically and thoroughly searched for concealed weapons, and be partially subdued by applying ‘…hand and foot-cuffs.’ Overly optimistic, if not showing naivety in believing that the ‘…triple-murder-accused would have further incriminated himself in the grisly murders,’ investigators had clearly divested themselves of their ‘…professional sense of judgment.’

Not knowing where they were going, the murder-accused, on reasonably suspected prompts, may have volunteered to show investigators where ‘…bottles of blood were self-stashed.’ They had not the slightest inkling they were being hoodwinked into facilitating his escape from their custody. Thus, with fox-like cunningness, he reportedly led five criminal investigators on a ‘…Single-file bushy Trail’ and terrain that were unfamiliar to them.’ The murder-accused reportedly led the smartly attired investigators through a narrow and difficult footpath, that for ease of access, would have necessitated removal of ‘…foot-restraint mechanisms,’ (if any). This, undoubtedly, allowed for dexterity, and with ‘…lightning-fast Usain Bolt-like athletic sprint,’ took a jumping flight, witnessed only by startled investigators.

Investigators saw no unusual mannerism and harbored no feelings of trickery. It was apparent that all it had taken triple-murder-accused Delano Forbes in making his escape, were (i) ‘…Simplistic deception; (ii) …Voluntary cooperation; (iii) …Controlled Emotions; and (iv) …Restrained aggression.’ Likened to the investigators, he too had an objective. Thus, achievement was contingent upon ‘…compliance and obedience.’ He apparently complied with every request made, and obeyed every instruction given. Unlike world-renowned social commentator Slinger Francisco ‘Mighty Sparrow’s confrontation with ‘…10 vicious men,’ with ‘…4 armed investigators to 1 unarmed accused,’ offering resistance may also have been suicidal. The difference in Sparrow’s experience, and luckily for him when ‘…Bottle and stone pelting and no place to shelter,’ he suddenly heard ‘…Podow Pow and man start to scatter.’ He was the only man who remained at the scene, suggesting that he was the one who fired the gun; forcing the 10 vicious men to run’ [Ten to One is Murder: 1961: You Tube]. In this case, it was the accused that ran from non-violent investigators.

Organizationally, there are those who shall lead and those who follow. Hierarchically, the ‘…inferior follows the superior.’ Then once in a while, both leader and follower are ‘…deceptively led down slippery slopes to destruction.’ At all material times and at all crime scenes,’ among the primary objectives of investigators have been, (i) ‘…martialling facts with potential probative or evidential value. These may be scientific or otherwise. Then there is (ii) …gathering clues that may go towards the establishment of a ‘…nexus between the accused/suspects and the crime.’ The investigators are not only aware of possible ‘…confrontations with extremely dangerous situations,’ but also a population of criminals that are not only ‘…cunning and opportunistically exploitative, but also very dangerous and deadly. These criminal suspects have always kept themselves alert to seize and capitalize on opportunities or exploit ‘…Serious Operational Lapses’ in the approved mode in securing prisoners.

It was not clear what ‘…Positional Strategies’ may have been employed. Concerning ‘…Visitations to Crime Scenes’ with accused persons, the strategically-inclined investigator would have considered positioning personnel for one purpose only; preventing escape of an accused. In the apparent desperate attempt to gather additional evidence, the escapee had led investigators through dense forestry and rugged terrain, where travel is difficult. Thus, walking abreast was often restricted to a ‘…single file’ (single line). Leading at the front, this was the ideal position for a ‘…High Jump.’ Whatever restraints (if any), showing dexterity, agility and athleticism, investigators appeared to have been completely out-foxed by the 23 year-old accused. Whether or not hands and feet were in restraint, traversing through densely-populated bushes as to have successfully regained his liberty, a senior law enforcement officer remarked, and ‘…he deserved to be at the Olympics.’

Whatever may have given the lead investigator reasons to believe that triple-murder accused Delano Forbes could have been of further investigative assistance to them, the exercise had proved professionally embarrassing and disastrously futile. When he reportedly took the mystified jump at a densely shrub-populated embankment, he had successfully relieved himself of the ‘…collective custody of four males, among them two Crime Scenes Investigators (CSI) and a female investigator.’ While the jump may have been capable of being described as cunningly daring, considering its seriousness, it speaks to unbelievably ‘…grave procedural glitches.’ On the trek through the bushes, before investigators could ask ‘…Where is the blood?’ he had jumped from their custody down a twenty-five foot embankment and mysteriously disappeared from view. This also speaks to the need for ‘…operational strategies; …agility and dexterity,’ in the event of hot pursuit.

Expressing grave concern over the escape, Attorney General, Police and Public Safety Minister, Steadroy ‘Cutie Benjamin appeared to have been provoked into reading the ‘…Riot Act’ to the Police high command. He had demanded answers, while indirectly suggesting that decisive action ought to be initiated against personnel for culpable neglect. He had described the escape as, (i) ‘…tremendous lack of judgement’ [ANR: February 15, 2018] and (ii) …gross neglect of duty’ [OMG: February 16, 2018]. However, while authorities may express ‘…Displeasure,’ these are not determinations for Ministers of Government, but are solely within the remit of the Commissioner of Police. This has been settled law, [R v Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Blackburn ex parte’ [1 AER: 763: 1968]. While tough Commissioners do not necessarily wilt under pressure, even without water, it is that which ‘…frequently burst the APUA’s pipe lines.

It was no coincidence that the two governmental services that speaks to criminal liability and disciplinary actions are the ‘…Prison and Police Services.’ There are prescribed consequences for ‘…Carelessness or Negligence.’ The Police ‘…arrest or detain and prosecute,’ while Prison authorities when so commanded by the Courts by ‘…Committal, Remand or Conviction Warrants,’ shall keep in safe legal confinement or custody those so remanded pending trial or committal proceedings. Therefore, if for these reasons, ‘…legally confined or lawfully detained or remanded prisoners’ are allowed to escape from those charged with their custody, the custodian may be criminally prosecuted or disciplinarily dealt with according to law.

In the Prison and Police Acts, the mischief aimed by Parliament is simply to ensure that there is no ‘…Dereliction of Duty,’ whether through carelessness or negligence. The provisions contained in the Prison Act unambiguously states, ‘…Every person having the custody of a prisoner, who shall knowingly or willfully allow him to escape, shall be liable to be imprisoned… for any term not exceeding two years;’ while that contained in the latter, states, ‘…If a member of the Force by carelessness or neglect permits a prisoner to escape’ [Chapter 341: Section 20 & Police Act [Chapter330: Section 6(d) (iv)]. Law enforcement personnel may face penalties from a gentle ‘…Caution/Reprimand to Reduction in rank to Dismissal’ [Vol. 12: Chapter 330: Section 11]. Considerations to applicable punishment, is dependent upon gravity of the dereliction.

In these provisions there are ‘…Presumption of Knowledge’ that those from whom a prisoner had escaped their custody, ‘…knowingly or willfully permit him to escape such custody.’ Given this presumption, evidence must show that the custodian had taken every precaution or had been overpowered and rendered incapable of preventing his escape. Following the escape of Delano Forbes, this had reportedly left the quiet sleepy Swetes community of an estimated residential population of some 2000 residents (1, 849 in 2012) [Wikipedia], as a virtual ‘…Ghost Town.’ Reports suggested that residents had been forced under lockdown, thereby imposing upon themselves, a ‘…dusk to dawn curfew.’ While such may have been the case, it was the ‘…elusive murder-accused’ who had induced fear in the residents. Many residents were said to have become mortally afraid that the ‘…blood-drinking human vampire and Serial killer,’ may come hunting for the blood of the innocent.

In the instant case, even with ‘…hands and feet securely or insecurely cuffed,’ it may still prove extremely difficult for any custodian to negate suggestions of ‘…carelessness or negligence.’ In the frightening development, the custodians would have been considered ‘…grossly reckless’ not to have anticipated that the murder-accused would have attempted to take flight from their custody.’ That which appears more disconcerting, is that the accused has not only remained ‘…Dangerously at-Large,’ but also seemed to have been able to elude and/or avoid the intensified re-capturing efforts of the Security forces. On the day of his mindboggling escape, many residents had reportedly sojourned elsewhere. Many had secured themselves, for fear that the suspected ‘…human vampire,’ without screening, may randomly attack victims for their blood, while in the process, snuffing out innocent lives.

Reasonable inferences may have been drawn that the investigating team were seeking to reduce prosecutorial reliance only on the ‘…Elicited Confessions’ from murder accused Delano Forbes. These Confessions have often been the subject of ‘…Voir Dire’ (trial within a trial). They are held when accused persons either denied contents or made allegations, inter alia, ‘…offered hope of advantage; …influence; …use of force or threat of it.’ Even so, it still begs the questions (i) ‘…What led investigators to believe that after three months on remand, he would have further incriminated himself in crimes already pending Committal proceedings?’(ii) …What compelling reasons informed the decision to seek the issuance of a ‘Warrant of Deliverance’ for his removal from the secure facility of Her Majesty’s Prison?’

In his prosecutorial capacity, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong has always advised investigators that there shall always be the ‘…Prospect of Conviction.’ Ignoring such advice, ‘…investigator’s zeal and public and official pressures’ had often led to prosecutorial failings. Many cases had failed to go beyond the threshold of ‘…sufficiency of evidence.’ In the instant case, compounding investigators efforts, that which had been initially suspected to be ‘…human blood,’ remains pending forensic laboratory analyses. While such analyses may determine whether or not the ‘…suspect blood’ is that of humans, it must also show that it ‘…matches the blood types of the murdered victims.’ Not only, would it provide the ‘…nexus between the accused and the crime,’ but also its probative value is most critical to ‘…prosecutorial success.’

Attempts at ‘…retrieving possible stashed-exhibits’ have always been part of criminal investigations. Whether or not they would have advanced the case as ‘…prima facie evidence’ were to be left to the ‘…considerations of investigators and prosecutors, and determinations of adjudicators.’ That which shall be clearly understood, is that when persons appeared before the Courts,’ it is for one purpose only, ‘…Trial or Committal proceedings. It is never for police investigation or continuance thereof. Escape from Prison facilities and Police Custody, not only has implications for citizen’s ‘…Safety and Protection,’ but also consequences to those charged with their custody. Whether on conviction or remand, confinement are usually ordered for Court determined periods. In the case of remand, this is for the limited first instance period of seven days. It may be extended weekly for ‘…seven days,’ if cases remain pending trial, or accused is unable to meet that which might reasonably be considered ‘…excessive bail conditions’ [ANU: CO: Section 5 (4)]. While announcement of ‘…an internal probe’ was said to be underway; much more than ‘…Press Releases and television appearances’ would be required to (i) …to eliminate anxieties, uncertainties and fear from an expressively-disappointed public; (ii) …address waning public confidence; (iii) …show capacity in securing dangerous criminals; (iv) …eliminate suspicion and distrust; and (v) …continue to strive in forging stronger citizenry/police links.’ These not only augurs well for continued citizen’s support and cooperation, but also ‘…good public and community relations.’ ***

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