Report of the Duffus Commission of Inquiry into the Breakdown of Law & Order, and Police Brutality in Grenada

Part I

Incidents of Infringements of Constitutional Rights

Paragraph 19. - V. Septimus Pierre and Simon Charles

19. On that day, the 4th of November, 1973, yet another incident took place in the town of Grenville. Septimus Pierre and Simon Charles were shot by Asst. Supt. Belmar.

The incident took place in the Sea Haven Restaurant. There was a slight altercation between Belmar and Charles whereupon Belmar drew his revolver and fired at Charles. The bullet missed Charles and caught Pierre on the back of his right leg.

Belmar fired a second shot which caught Charles on his left knee. Charles was taken to the Grenville Police station where he was assaulted and beaten by some of the police aides who were there. Charles says that at the station he was again shot by Belmar, this time on his right leg. He was then put in a cell where, he says, Belmar beat him.

In the meantime Pierre had left the scene and gone to the Princess Margaret Hospital. Charles, who was shot twice, was not taken to the hospital by the police until the following day. Dr. Gibbs testified that he treated both men for bullet wounds and said that Charles had other injuries, consistent with being beaten.

Mr. Belmar in his evidence said that Charles first struck him and he held Charles, whereupon Pierre approached him in a menacing manner with something in his hand, and he, Belmar, thereupon shot Pierre who ran off. A shot was then fired from the direction where Simon Charles was standing so Belmar filed at Charles and held him. Belmar, assisted by two police aides, took Charles to the Police station.

Belmar says that later that night he found a .32 calibre revolver with 3 live and 3 spent shells in the yard of the Sea Haven restaurant. Belmar denied shooting or beating Charles while he was at the police station. There are a number of criminal charges pending in the Courts against St. Bernard, Charles and Pierre. For this reason we have made no findings on these incidents, if the facts as related by St. Bernard, Charles and Pierre are true then Belmar and the police aides who were involved ought to be charged for criminal offences and tried in the regular Courts. The allegations against Belmar and the police aides, if true, point to a serious breakdown of police discipline and the maintenance of law and order.

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