Report on inquiry into beating of off-duty soldier-‘No evidence found that the police had assaulted Marcus Botsoie’


19-September-2012

Minister Morgan accepts a copy of the report from panel member Raymond St Ange

The panel handed over a copy of their findings to the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan yesterday morning at Independence House. The panel, made up of David Esparon from the attorney general’s office, medical doctor Laurence Reginald, forensics expert Dr Bushan Arora, security consultant in the minister’s office Raymond St Ange and Nirmal Shah.

Speaking to the press, the panel said after all the evidence had been gathered, CCTV footage viewed, statements taken, there was no evidence that showed the police had inflicted the injuries sustained by Mr Botsoie on September 2.

Members of the panel speaking to the media yesterday

They explained that their findings showed that Mr Botsoie had been brought to the Seychelles Hospital at around 5.15am, and his injuries were lacerated wounds confined to his scalp and did not correspond to an injury that could have been inflicted by a police baton or a sharp object.“His injuries appeared to have come from falling on a hard surface, which is further supported by the exposure of his skull, which shows that the person may have been in motion or running fast when he fell, and the collision with the ground, together with the momentum, caused the skin to get detached and stretched,” the panel said. “All the lacerations, including those on the eyebrows and upper lip, were also said to be on the left side of the body, with only a small abrasion on the right knee.

”The panel said the police, while doing a foot patrol before dawn that day, had come across a group of people, which Mr Botsoie was part of, and that he had suddenly broken away from the group and sprinted away, and the police had given chase, which a part of was recorded by CCTV camera.“Mr Botsoie said he ran away because somebody – which he said was a police officer – had grabbed his arm, and he didn’t like that and he had chosen to run away because he was trying to avoid a fight, but then was chased by what he said were ‘Nepaleses’.

And although he said when making a turn he was hit from the back, he was unable to describe by what or who exactly, and our findings furthermore contradict any blow received to the back of the head,” said the panel. “But our findings do show that he had left behind a beer bottle, and while running away and taking a corner at high-speed, the subject lost his balance and fell down hitting his head hard.

”Mr Botsoie said he went to a friend’s house and was later transported to the hospital, where the police arrived to take statements but the panel said the statements Mr Botsoie gave to the doctor who examined him and the one he gave to the police were inconsistent and contradictory.

The panel said that the batons of the officers had been examined by the forensics section of the police and had not contained any blood, body tissue or other type of forensic evidence. The medical experts (on the panel) said CT scans had not shown any damages to the brain and said Mr Botsoie could resume duty after recovery.

“However, there was a type of sandy debris embedded in the lacerations on the head, which was also found on the scene where the subject was said to have fallen, and was he to have taken any type of blow to the head, there would have been head trauma symptoms such as certain types of bleeding either from the nose or ears, or even have a skull fracture,” they said.

During their investigations the panel called around 12 people to give evidence and statements including Mr Botsoie, doctors and investigating officers, and the team also carried out site visits. The panel also made a series of recommendations, such as the method of collecting evidence, and the police not taking so long to speak out on such issues, all of which were put in their 57-page report. The panel said there has been no mention of any lawsuit on the part of Mr Botsoie until now.

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