Top Cop Warns Against Harboring Escaped Prisoners

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith

In Wake of Recent Golden Grove Prison Escape

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Police Commissioner Gary Griffith on Monday brushed aside comments made on social media by two escape prisoners warning those harbouring them that they too face prosecution.

Olatungi Denbow and Michael Findley, who were among eight prisoners that escaped from the Golden Grove Prison last Wednesday, have released a video on Facebook, claiming that they had been set up on the murder charges they face.

They have also called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Senior Counsel Roger Gaspard to help them with their plight, claiming that they are not armed and dangerous.

Speaking on a television programme here, Griffith warned persons aiding and abetting the prisoners that they too were guilty of an offence and that while the escapees had a right to claim their innocence, it is for the criminal justice system and not social media to decide.

“Nothing has changed. It is right of the individuals to claim their innocence. That is going to be decided not by WhatsApp, social media or the Commissioner of Police but by the criminal justice system and that is how it would take place.

“But what I do find very interesting is the situation whereby the individuals have some degree of support by other individuals who seem to be guiding them accordingly. And I will pursue these individuals because I see them as enemies of the State at this time.

“They are fugitives and those individuals who are aiding and abetting these escaped fugitives they will also be hunted down because they are also committing a crime,” Griffith told television viewers.

He said that under Section 5 of the criminal law any person who is aiding and abetting an individual from being held, knowing that person is a convict and an escaped fugitive, was also breaking the law and liable to 10 years imprisonment.

Griffith said that Findley was charged with murder, attempted murder, possession of firearm, ammunition, larceny, robbery, drugs and other offences, while Denbow faces simila charges.

“This Commissioner of Police, I am making it very plain. I do not care, that is not my business that is not my concern, there is a criminal justice system and the court will decide whether they are guilty or innocent.

“They can sing from now to high heaven it is irrelevant to me and irrelevant to the police service. We will hunt you down and we will bring them to justice and let the court decide,” Griffith said with regards to the three-minute video released by the prisoners.

Crime Stoppers has issued a TT$50,000 reward for the capture of the men and Griffith said he would consider liaising with Crime Stoppers to double the reward. – CMC