SKNDF Suspends Officers Charged With Rape

According to a police-issued press release, on Thursday 24th February, 2011, at about 2:30 in the afternoon, “officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID)…formally arrested and charged two soldiers of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force on warrants in the first instance for the offence of rape which was committed on Saturday, 19th February, 2011…”

The soldiers, Lance Corporals Charles ‘Babash’ Bowry of Upper Bourkes Project, Sandy Point and Jamal ‘JP’ Phillip of Manchester Avenue, Newtown, are 39 and 35 years of age respectively.

According to information which reached this media house, the alleged offence was committed sometime after midnight on the day in question when a 16-year-old was reportedly standing at the foot of the road which leads to Shadwell, a vehicle carrying Defence Force soldiers stopped and she was told to embark the vehicle. She reportedly refused and was forced into the vehicle, taken to the Fort Thomas Hotel and raped before being abandoned somewhere in the Upper Monkey Hill area.

The Defence Force, in a press release issued prior to the soldiers’ arrest, indicated that the institution would be in full cooperation with the police as they make their investigations into the matter. The most recent echoes those sentiments.

“The St. Kitts Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) continues to cooperate fully with the Royal St Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) with the investigations into the alleged rape of a sixteen (16) years old female by two (2) soldiers.”

It further indicates that the “the alleged offenders (were charged) with the offence of ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’” and, “In accordance with Force standing procedure, the soldiers were suspended from all duties pending their appearance in the Courts and the outcome of the trial.”

The release repeated the SKNDF’s stance of zero tolerance for this type of behaviour and pledged to “continue to cooperate with the civil authority to ensure due process and transparency in this matter. The force strongly believes that none of its members is above the law.”

“We are assuring the population that we are professional military men and women dedicated to defending the territorial integrity of our beautiful Islands.  We remain highly committed to the ongoing efforts of the civil power to ensure the safety and security of citizens, residents and visitors to the Federation.”

According to the police, investigations into the matter are ongoing.

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