Cops walk free after prosecution fails to prove case

(Jenneka Carmichael and Tatayana Smith)

Two Guyana Police Force (GPF) ranks who were charged with intentionally deleting data from the Force’s computer system were freed of the charge on Wednesday after the prosecution failed to prove its case.

Constable Tatayana Smith, 21, of 43 Third Street Alberttown, Georgetown, and 26-year-old Corporal Jenneka Carmichael of 121 Onderneeming, West Coast Berbice were on trial for the offence before Magistrate Annette Singh at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

It was alleged that Carmichael and Smith between January 28, 2021, and February 4, 2021, at the GPF Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown, intentionally and without lawful excuse or justification, deleted electronic data from the GPF computer that was in the Administrative Office at the Felix Austin Police College Mess. The charge is contrary to section 5(2) (a) of the Cyber Crime Act.

However, on Wednesday, the magistrate upheld no-case submissions made by the women’s lawyers and accordingly dismissed the matters against them. Smith was represented by Attorney-at-law Bernard Da Silva, while Attorney-at-law E. Stephens appeared on behalf of Carmichael.

They were initially charged in April 2021 and had both pleaded not guilty to both charges. They were released on bail in the sum of $150,000 each pending the hearing and determination of their trial.

The women were arrested as part of investigations into a $19 million fraud at the Police Force’s Finance Department regarding monies expended to supply meals for Police ranks.

An investigation was conducted by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) after the agency received information about feeding accounts being stored on the computer in question.

However, when SOCU ranks gained access to the computer, all related files were deleted. SOCU had claimed that only Smith and Carmichael had access to the computer.