Gildon Richards one of the three lawyers representing former deputy leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Claudius Sanford, has described his arrest by the police as “political”.
Sanford, who lectures at the Dominica State College (DSC), was detained in the early morning of Wednesday at his home by the police.
Speaking to reporters when Sanford was released after his over 10-hour detention on Wednesday afternoon, Richards said, “this is the most patent witch hunt that I have even seen.”
“Mr. Sanford (Claudius) was picked up this morning February 15, 2017 on an allegation that he had subverted the government’s process and therefore he was arrested on suspicion of that. By the time that we got to police headquarters and the interview was over, Mr. Sanford was being told he would be charged with obstruction,” Richards said.
He continued; “The question is, obstruction of whom? He was then told that he would be charged with obstruction of Superintendent Cuffy. Which Cuffy? Superintendent Matthew Cuffy… Who is Superintendent Matthew Cuffy? The head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).Who preferred the charge? A woman corporal of police, not the superintendent who was said to have been obstructed.”
According to him, Sanford asked the police whether Superintendent Matthew Cuffy said that he had obstructed him. But, according to Richards, the person who preferred the charge is yet to answer.
Richards said that the police administration at the lower levels has no interest in the matter.
“The person interested is the Acting Deputy Chief of police (Davidson Valerie) whose appointment, the leader of the United Workers Party is questioning in court,” he stated. “The interview ended at midday and Sanford was only released at 3:30 pm. The deputy chief of police (acting) had to consult with Rayburn Blackmoore, the Minister of National security, a politician not the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who then has to consult with Anthony Astaphan abroad to determine whether Sanford leaves police headquarters.”
He said this is an absurdity that now pervades “the whole of the police administration”.
“Today it is not policing, it is give me a benefit by promotion and I will perpetuate the dirty work that you want to do in the police force,” Richards alleged. “If those of us who know of something better do not stand to protect the fundamental rights of people in Dominica then we will get something else for which we will be sorry.”
Sanford is due to appear in court on April 28, 2017 where the charge of obstruction will be formerly read to him.
The other attorneys on his legal team are David Bruney and Ronald Charles.