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Corrupt cop sent to jail for bribery
A former police officer, who confessed to soliciting $2,500 in bribes from a woman to forgo pressing charges related to a motor vehicle accident in 2004, has been sentenced to two years in prison.
In passing the sentence on Anthony Wilson in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday, Justice Gillian Lucky rejected submissions from his lawyer who asked for him to receive a non-custodial sentence based on his clean criminal record before he was charged with two corruption charges.
“As a police officer, you violated and harmed persons you were expected to protect and serve. You must face consequences for your actions,” the judge said.
While she admitted that Wilson had received positive testimonials from his neighbours and citizens, whose cases he assisted in solving during his career, Lucky noted that the court has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption cases.
“This was a very unfortunate misstep in your career which may have erased all the good you may have done,” Lucky said as she noted that such incidents negatively affect the public’s trust and confidence in police officers.
“Far too often there are complaints about police officers abusing their powers...You have let yourself, the T&T Police Service (TTPS), and most of all your country down,” Lucky said.
Lucky determined that a five-year prison sentence was appropriate in the case but reduced it to three years and four months after she applied a one-third discount awarded to prisoners who plead guilty to crimes and avoid a trial.
Wilson was given an additional one year and four months discount on his sentence based on the fact that he did not re-offend while he was awaiting trial for over a decade. The sentences for both charges are to run concurrently.
According to the evidence in the case, the charges were based on a series of interactions Wilson had with the victim after she was involved in an accident in May 2004. The victim was then a teacher at ASJA Girls’ College in Tunapuna.
Wilson approached the victim for a bribe after she made a report of the accident to him after she was discharged from the hospital.
He told her that he had found that she was liable for the accident and other party was willing to drop the case against her if she paid them $2,000. Wilson volunteered to be an intermediary.
The victim initially ignored the request but reported it to detectives of the Anti-Corruption Bureau after Wilson repeatedly visited her workplace to follow-up on the requested payment.
He was arrested during a sting operation at the school where the teacher gave him a downpayment of $500 in marked bills. Wilson was slapped with two corruption charges—one for soliciting the bribe and the other for when he received the downpayment.
Lucky criticised Wilson for his actions as she described his unrelenting pursuit of the victim as stalking.
Wilson was represented by Ulric Skerritt, while Giselle Heller-Ferguson prosecuted.
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