The citizens who beat a burglary suspect in Carielle, Castries on Wednesday could face criminal charges.
Police Press Officer Zachary Hippolyte told St. Lucia News Online today that you cannot fight crime by committing a crime.
“We as a society, we cannot support the fight against crime by committing crimes. It is clear in the criminal code that a citizen can arrest another citizen who has committed an indictable offence. You arrest the person, you detain the person, you bring the person to the police station or you wait for the police, but whilst the person is detained and the person is no longer a threat to you or any other person, you cannot assault the person. It’s an offence. You cannot wound or cause any form of injury or bodily harm to the individual. It is an offence,” Hippolyte explained.
He added: “So it is not proper. This the reason why we are guided by laws. And if we are a society that contributes or we promote committing a crime to fight crime, then we definitely will never, never put a dent on crime, because you are committing a crime to try and stop crime, so you’re adding onto the crime problem. So we the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, we do not promote this. We do not accept it….”
The press officer is encouraging citizens to read the laws that govern them so that they could know their rights to deal with such matters when they arise.
“But it definitely isn’t proper. It is against the law, it is an offence to cause injury or bodily harm to an individual that you have already detained, that you have already arrested and who no longer poses a threat to you or any other person,” he added.
It is not clear yet if the men seen beating the suspect with sticks and tree branches will be arrested, but based on the laws the police could cage them at anytime.
Meanwhile, the burglary suspect was handed over to the police but he has not yet been charged. He faces charges related to criminal trespass and attempted burglary.
The young male suspect was accused of breaking into a Carielle home Wednesday morning.
Reports are that the alleged thief gained entry through a window in the bottom flat of the house.
A friend of the owner reportedly came into contact with the suspect when he visited the home.
The trespasser attempted to flee, but neighbours managed to tie him up.
He had in his possession, cash and other items, including a TV remote control, that were stolen from the house.
The suspect was handed over to the police.
However, before he was handed over, he was given a sound beating all over his body by three male individuals. The beating was captured on video and posted on Facebook group page, St. Lucians Aiming For Progress (SLAPS).
In the video, the suspect, who is tied by the foot to a concrete column, is being beaten on his head, back and upper torso with sticks and tree branches by several men as he bawls and begs for mercy.
The video has gone viral but has evoked mixed reactions. Many persons on SLAPS are rejoicing on the suspect’s capture and his punishment at the hands of the civilians, while a few others commented that vigilante justice is illegal.
Some still believe the beating was not enough.