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“I do not care” — Trinidad’s top cop has no sympathy for escapees

By Carolyn Kissoon

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Still at large :Michael Findley (Left) and Olatungi Denbow

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith says he has no pity for escaped prisoners, Olatungi Denbow and Michael Findley, who released a video at the weekend claiming their innocence.

And he warned persons aiding and abetting the fugitives that they were also breaking the law.

In a CNC3 television interview on Monday, Griffith said the individuals had a right to claim their innocence, but that would not be decided by social media but by the criminal justice system.

Griffith said, “Nothing has changed. it is right of the individuals to claim their innocence. That is going to be decided not by WhatsApp, social media or the Commissioner of Police but by the criminal justice system and that is how it would take place. But what I do find very interesting is the situation whereby the individuals have some degree of support by other individuals who seem to be guiding them accordingly. And I will pursue these individuals because I see them as enemies of the State at this time. They are fugitives and those individuals who are aiding and abetting these escaped fugitives they will also be hunted down because they are also committing a crime.”

Griffith noted that under Section 5 of the criminal law any person who is aiding and abetting an individual from being held, knowing that person is a convict and an escaped fugitive, was also breaking the law and liable to 10 years imprisonment.

Findley, he said, was charged with murder, attempted murder, possession of firearm, ammunition, larceny, robbery, drugs and other offences. Denbow, he said, had similar charges.

Responding to the three-minute-long video, Griffith said, “This Commissioner of Police, I am making it very plain. I do not care, that is not my business, that is not my concern, there is a criminal justice system and the court will decide whether they are guilty or innocent. They can sing from now to high heaven it is irrelevant to me and irrelevant to the police service. We will hunt you down and we will bring them to justice and let the court decide.”

Griffith appealed to anyone with information to contact the police at 999, 555, 911, 800-TIPS or any police station or via text/WhatsApp to 482-GARY (4279).

And he would consider liaising with Crime Stoppers to double the reward, he said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the recapture of the two prison escapees. The offer was posted on the Facebook page of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Friday evening.

In the video, the escaped prisoners called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard SC to help them with their plight.

The men said they were not armed and dangerous.

The men were among eight prisoners who cut through metal bars and removed ventilation blocks at the remand section at Golden Grove Prison, Arouca, on Wednesday.

Six others were recaptured between Wednesday night and Thursday.

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