January 3, 2012 by staff
A preliminary inquiry into Oscar Bartholomew’s death has been moved to St. David’s, the jurisdiction where the 39-year-old was allegedly beaten to death, a police official told The Canadian Press.
Bartholomew, a Toronto resident who was in the island country visiting family, was allegedly beaten by the officers last week after he hugged a plainclothes policewoman who he mistook for a childhood friend.
Until Friday’s inquiry arrives, the officers have been remanded to a prison in Richmond Hill as the court did not have the authority to grant bail. Any bail motions are expected to be brought up on Friday, said police superintendent Dunbar Belfon.
The five officers have been charged with manslaughter in the 39-year-old’s death, but Bartholomew’s family is demanding that those charges be upgraded to murder.
Bartholomew’s brother Solomon Hypolite reiterated that call on CTV’s Canada AM on Tuesday, stressing the seriousness of the case because it involves “police officers who were trained to protect life.”
Earlier this week, a freelance journalist in Grenada said that an independent autopsy found Bartholomew died of trauma to the head and multiple injuries to the body.
“It revealed Oscar suffered broken bones, broken ribs, he has a broken hand and other wounds across his body,” Nicole Best told CTV’s Canada AM.
Duct tape, she added, was also mentioned in the autopsy but details as to how and why it was used were not disclosed.
Similar, but less detailed conclusions were reached in a state autopsy.
The seemingly violent death doesn’t sit well with Hypolite, who said he’s struggling to understand why that much force was allegedly used on his brother.
“They should know that beating somebody repeatedly in the head will cause some serious injuries, even death,” he said.
Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has ordered an investigation into the incident, but the lawyer representing Bartholomew’s family has expressed concern about the ability of police to investigate themselves.
Hypolite has suggested that a third party monitor the probe to ensure its integrity.
“I would really like for some independent body to go and observe the situation, observe the proceedings, to make sure that everything is done properly,” he said.
Though Bartholomew was not a Canadian citizen, Foreign Affairs officials in Ottawa have said they’re offering his family the same services they’d extend to a citizen because his wife is Canadian.
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