Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Circumstances Associated with the Death of Morris Hoareau on the 5th of March 2009
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEATH OF MORRIS HOAREAU ON THE 5TH OF MARCH 2009, THE DISAPPEARANCE OR POSSIBLE DEATH OF ABDUL RAHIM HOAREAU BETWEEN THE 4TH AND 5TH OF MARCH 2009 AND THE RESPONSE OF THE POLICE FROM THE TIME OF THE INITIAL COMPLAINT MADE BY REGINA SIMEON, THE MOTHER OF ABDUL RAHIM HOAREAU, TO THE BEAU VALLON POLICE STATION AGAINST MORRIS HOAREAU UP TO THE TIME OF DEATH OF MORRIS HOAREAU.
ESTABLISHED ON THE 16TH OF MARCH 2009 BY HIS EXCELLENCY JAMES ALIX MICHEL, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES IN EXERCISE OF HIS POWERS UNDER THE COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY ACT (CAP 39)
COMMISSIONER: ANTHONY FRANCIS TISSA FERNAND, JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE SEYCHELLES
Appointment of the Commission of Inquiry 05
Commissions of the Inquiry Act (Cap 39) 07
Expenses of the Commission 08
Facts in Brief 09
The Three Modules under which the Inquiry was held 14
What has become of Abdul Rahim Hoareau? 15
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Test of the Intestines found in the sea 17
Clothing of Abdul Rahim Hoareau found in the sea 22
Conclusion of the Commission as to what happened to Abdul Rahim Hoareau and Recommendations 25
How did Morris Hoareau come by his death? 27
Conclusion of the Commission as to how Morris Hoareau came by his death and Recommendations 36
Conduct of the Police 39
Recommendations of the Commission as regards wrongful police conduct 45
Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations 46
List of Documents 49
APPOINTMENT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY:-
On the 16th of March 2009 His Excellency James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles in exercise of his powers under the Commissions of Inquiry Act(Cap 39) appointed me, Anthony Francis Tissa Fernando, as a one man Commission, under Gazette Notification NO 12 XXXIV of Monday 16th March 2009 to inquire into the circumstances associated with the death of Morris Hoareau on the 5th of March 2009, the disappearance or possible death of Abdul Rahim Hoareau between the 4th and 5th of March 2009 and the response of the police from the time of the initial complaint made by Regina Simeon, the mother of Abdul Rahim Hoareau, to the Beau Vallon police station against Morris Hoareau up to the time of death of Morris Hoareau and render a Report of my findings, the reasons for such findings and recommendations if any, not later than 3 months from the date of publication of the Gazette, namely before 16th of June 2009. A copy of the said Gazette Notification is to be found at X1 in the List of Documents.
On the 18th of March 2009 as required by the Commissions of Inquiry Act I took the oath before President Michel. A copy of the oath is to be found at X2 of the List of Documents.
The Inquiry was held in public since there was no direction by the President to the contrary in the gazette notification appointing the Commission. The inquiry was conducted in the building of the Seychelles Court of Appeal.
After the appointment of the Commission there was a Notice to the Public, published on the Seychelles Nation of 20th and 21st of March 2009 calling upon the public who have any knowledge pertaining to the matters which are the subject matter of the Inquiry to contact the Secretary to the Commission before the 10th of April 2009. A copy of this Notice is to be found at X3 in the List of Documents. Notice of inquiry was on the 19th of March 2009 broadcast on SBC Television in the 06.00 P.M. French news, 07.00 P.M. English news and 08.00 P.M. Creole news and also on SBC Radio in the 05.00 P.M. French news, 06.00 P.M. English news and 07.00 P.M. Creole news.
The Commission sat to hear the evidence of 43 witnesses summoned before it on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of April and 18th and 19st of May 2009. Seven of the witnesses were recalled to clarify their earlier testimony in view of other evidence that came up before the Commission. The List of witnesses who testified before the Commission is to be found atX4 of the List of Documents. The rights, obligations and privileges of the witnesses were set out in detail in the summonses served on each of the witnesses. Copies of the two types of the Summonses issued are to be found at X5a and X5b of the List of Documents. 41 Exhibits were produced before the Commission. The List of exhibits is to be found atX6 of the List of Documents.
COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY ACT (Cap 39):-
The President may, whenever he shall deem it advisable, issue a Commission appointing one or more Commissioners to inquire into-
(a) The conduct of any officer in the public service; or
(b) the conduct or management of any department of the public service, or of any public or local institution; or
(c) any matter relating to the public service; or
(d) any matter of public interest or concern; or
(e) any matter in which an inquiry would be for the public welfare.
According to the Gazette notification this Inquiry came under the provisions of (a) and (d) above.
EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION:-
In view of financial and human resource constraints I did not seek to have a Special Adviser, Legal Advisers, a Chief Investigator or Investigators to assist me. I played all those roles in addition to being the Presiding Judge. The Commissioner of Police as directed by the President in the appointment of the Commission, detailed S.I. Cherryl Vengadasmy and Cpl. Chantal Prea to assist the Commission in its work. They assisted in the service of summonses on the witnesses and performing duties as directed by the Commission. The expenses in relation to payments made to the Secretary; 4 stenographers; the one who helped in the recording of the proceedings and with the projector; media advertisements; stationery; meals, refreshments and taxi fares for the Secretary, stenographers, police officers on duty during the sittings of the Commission were paid by State House and all financial matters were handled by the Secretary to the Commission Mrs Vivienne Christine Vadivelo and the Chief Accountant of State House Mr. Bijoux. I have been informed by Mrs Vadivelo that an amount of about SR 45,000 has been expended so far and what remains as expenses would be those involved in compiling(binding) this Report. The ‘Break Down of the Expenses of the Commission’ is annexed herewith as X7. Commissioners appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act shall not be entitled to any remuneration unless such remuneration shall be specially granted by the President and there was no request by me for remuneration or a direction by the President to this effect.
FACTS IN BRIEF:-
The deceased Morris Hoareau (Hereinafter referred to as Morris) and Regina Raymond Simeon (Hereinafter referred to as Regina) had been in a relationship for about nine years prior to the death on the 5th of March 2009, of Maurice Hoareau. They had been living in a small corrugated iron house at Canada, Beau Vallon, with their 8 year old son Abdul Rahim Hoareau (Herein after referred to as ‘little Abdul’) and 7 year old Mya Morel, a daughter of Morris from Nathalie Morel. Morris and Regina were having problems with their relationship for a few months prior to the death of Morris and Morris had been very depressed as a result of it. In the early hours of the morning of the 01st of March 2009(around 1.30-2.00 hrs) Morris who was under the influence of liquor became very aggressive and started smashing up things in the house and throwing things away from the house. Regina had moved out of the house and called the police on two occasions requesting assistance. She had got her uncle Jimmy Simeon also to speak to the police but the police never turned up at her house. It was only after the death of Morris, when the police started investigations into his death and the disappearance of little Abdul that a police photographer had visited the house and that was on the 10th of March 2009.
On the afternoon of the 4th of March 2009 Morris had taken away Abdul while he was returning from school. Thereafter he called Regina around 5 p.m. to say that he had taken little Abdul and that she would regret what is to happen and this was because she had not listened to him. On receipt of that call Regina had gone to the Central Police Station to lodge a complaint and to seek assistance but had been referred by the duty police officer to Beau Vallon Police Station on the ground that the report should be lodged there. Morris had called Regina thereafter on several occasions going on to late evening while she was at the Beau Vallon Police Station. He had also called his mother, Ms Rose Jesintha Hoareau and sister, Ms. Jamie Hoareau and said that he was going to kill himself and little Abdul. There had been a series of telephone calls between Morris, Regina, Morris’ mother and sister. He had not clearly disclosed his whereabouts to Regina; his mother, or sister, despite their asking him. He had once said that he was at Port Glaud and later at Anse Major. Regina had spoken to little Abdul on one of the occasions but it appears Morris had taken the mobile away from little Abdul as Regina had heard little Abdul calling for her in the background. Around 8.00 p.m. Morris had told Regina that he was at the rock at Anse Major near a house which is under renovation. Three officers from the Beau Vallon Police Station had then proceeded to Anse Major in a police vehicle along with Regina and her neighbor Tana Lusta. Arriving at the abandoned house at Anse Major referred to by Morris in his telephone conversation, Regina had descended from the jeep and called out to Abdul and Morris, but to no avail. They could not proceed very much as it was dark and they had no torches with them. The place was rocky and very dangerous to move about without any form of lighting. The police had not carried any torches with them as there were none to be found at that time at the Beau Vallon Police Station and none to be obtained from the Central Police Station. The police had not acceded to the request by Tana Lusta to get a torch from her house which was only a two minutes distance from the Beau Vallon Police Station. Since there was no response to the cries of Regina at Anse Major, the police had called off the search and returned back to the Beau Vallon Police Station.
On the morning of the 5th of March Morris had called Regina at about 07.00 A.M. to inform her that when he got up at 02.00 A.M. in the morning little Abdul who had slept beside him on the night of the 4th of March was not to be seen. Regina had insisted that he has to find little Abdul and bring him to the Beau Vallon Police station. Regina had then passed on this information to the Beau Vallon Police Station and thereafter gone there. Around 08.00 A.M. Morris had turned up at the Beau Vallon Police Station but without little Abdul. He had repeated what he had told Regina that morning to Sub Inspector Andre Freminot. Officers of the Family Squad from the Central Police Station had then visited the Beau Vallon Police Station and accompanied Morris to the Central Police Station. Four officers from the Central police station, three officers from the Dog Unit with their dogs, and Morris Hoareau had then proceeded to the rock on Anse Major where Morris had said that he had slept the previous night, to look for little Abdul. Morris had been handcuffed from behind. Regina claimed that she was not asked to accompany the police party nor was she informed of the fact that they were going to look for little Abdul. She had continued to remain at the police station ignorant of what was happening.
The police officers on reaching Anse Major had started the climb towards the “Big Rock’ known as Roze Mazeni. Inspector Christel Clare Marie and Detective Cpl. Agnes Fanchette lagged behind as Inspector Marie was having difficulty in climbing, while the other officers proceeded to the spot where Morris claimed he had slept the previous night with little Abdul. On reaching the place Cpl. Georgie Freminot claims that he on seeing the slippers of little Abdul had cried out to the rest of the officers. On hearing this, police officer Desire Boniface alleges that Morris who was standing close to him on the rock had raised his jeens from behind with his hands and leapt backwards. Desire Boniface claims that he had seen Morris crashing on to the branches of a cassurina tree growing below the rock. Cpl. Georgie Freminot categorically stated when testifying before the Commission, that he saw Morris fall downwards towards the sea to a depth of 10 meters or more. Later on when re-called to clarify the evidence he gave, he changed his earlier testimony and stated that what he saw was Morris rolling as if somersaulting in the air and falling on the branches of a cassurina tree.
The police had thereafter gone down to the sea looking for Morris. S.I. Wayne Sanders, L/Cpl 430 Julien Sanders and P.C. Steve Jerry Jupiter had got in to the sea below the ‘Big Rock’ looking for Morris and after some difficulty and with the assistance of some others had pulled Morris out from the sea with the aid of a fish hook. Earlier they had also recovered a school bag, later identified by Regina as belonging to her son little Abdul and a shoe supposed to be that of Morris from the sea. Morris’ body was lying at the sea bed with his head down and legs pointing towards the surface of the water. The body was then transported in a boat to Beau Vallon and from there to the Victoria Hospital. A search was conducted in the sea in the afternoon and Gaetan Payet, a fisherman from Beau Vallon had dived into the sea-bed in the area below the “Big Rock” and picked up a part of a shirt, part of a khaki short, part of an underwear and some animal or human intestines from the sea. The intestines were found on the sea bed below the rock entangled in some coral at a depth of about 9.4 meters. The part of the shirt, khaki short and underwear were later identified by Regina as belonging to her son little Abdul.
The police had recovered from the Rock from which Morris is alleged to have jumped the slippers of little Abdul and two papers on which little Abdul had made some drawings.
Regina had sat in the Central Police Station the whole morning oblivious to what was happening. According to her and the mother and sister of Morris they were unable to communicate with each other. Regina had been advised by the Public Relations Officer of the Police that she should not spread any information. Jamie had asked a lady police officer whom she named as Jerina as to what had become of Morris and had been told that she did not know anything.
THE THREE MODULES UNDER WHICH THE INQUIRY WAS HELD:-
I decided to deal with this Inquiry, under three modules, based on the instructions given to me in my appointment that was gazetted on the 16th of March 2009, namely:-
1) What has become of Abdul Rahim Hoareau?
2) How did Morris Hoareau come by his death?
3) Response of the police to the complaints made by Regina Simeon in respect of the incidents which are the subject matters of this Inquiry and the manner the search was conducted for Abdul Rahim Hoareau and the manner of handling Morris Hoareau on the morning of the 5th of March 2009, broadly classified as Police Conduct.
In dealing with these issues I do not intend to set out in detail in this Report the evidence of the witnesses but simply to make reference to the salient features of their evidence. The entire testimony of all the witnesses who testified before the Commission has been compiled in the Record of Proceedings consisting of 520 typed A4 papers and is available for inspection with the Secretary to the Commission to anyone who is interested in further details. A copy of The Record of Proceedings of witness testimony will be kept with the Secretary to the Commission and it is marked X8.
WHAT HAS BECOME OF ABDUL RAHIM HOAREAU?:-
It is clear from the evidence of Mya Moesha Morel, a half sister of little Abdul and daughter of Morris that Morris had taken little Abdul away in a taxi when little Abdul was returning home from school at about 04.00 P.M. on the 4th of March 2009. Christopher Killindo had seen a person resembling little Abdul at about 05.00 P.M. at Roze Mazenie, Anse Major, seated beside a man who was speaking loudly on a mobile. Killindo pointed out this place on a photograph which is part of the exhibits produced in this case. This place was pointed out by Morris to the police the next day as the place he had slept with little Abdul the previous night. Regina, the mother of little Abdul had spoken to little Abdul at about 05.00 P.M. when Morris called her. On the morning of the 5th of March, when the police party accompanied by Morris arrived at that place they found a pair of slippers later identified to be that of little Abdul by his mother, Regina, at that place. They also found at the same place two pieces of paper on which there were drawings and identified by Regina as that of little Abdul.
Morris after taking little Abdul had been in contact over the phone with Regina, Jesintha Hoareau, his mother and Jamie Hoareau, his sister on several occasions on the 4th of March. He had told both his mother and sister that he was going to kill little Abdul and himself. Regina denied in her evidence before the Commission that Morris had told her that he would kill little Abdul and himself, although she had said so in her statement to the police. Regina had also told this to members of the Beau Vallon police station. She insisted before the Commission that all that Morris had told her was that she would have to regret what happens. It is doubtful as to why she decided to change her version. Regina gave me the impression as one who was not that affected by the death of little Abdul. She indicated to the Commission that she wanted to put this behind and move on. A question arises does she know more than she testified.
DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID (DNA) TEST ON THE INTESTINES FOUND IN THE SEA:-
The intestines found on the sea bed, below the rock where Morris had claimed he slept with little Abdu on the night of the 4th of March, were taken to Ireland by Mr. Liam Coen, Chief Superintendent, for purposes of DNA analysis. According to Dr. Marija Zlatkovic, Senior Medical Registrar, Pathology, she was not properly consulted before the intestines were taken to Ireland and this prevented her from doing further tests, namely the “Frozen Section or Histology tests”, to confirm whether the intestines were in fact of human origin. As to why there was a hurry to remove the intestines from the Hospital to Ireland is not known. All that is known is that Mr. Liam Coen, Chief Superintendent, left Seychelles, for Ireland on the 19th of March with the intestines for DNA testing. Detective A.S.P. Mr. Yves Leon who on instructions of Mr Coen removed the intestines from the Victoria Hospital handed them over to Mr. Coen at the Seychelles International Airport, along with blood samples of Morris Hoareau and Regina Simeon, which Mr. Coen stated that he faithfully carried and delivered to Dr. Stephen L. Clifford, Forensic Scientist, of the Forensic Science Laboratory, Dublin, Ireland. Mr. Coen however did not bring back the intestines he carried to Ireland for DNA testing when he returned from his trip to Ireland. It was only after a directive from the Commission that he had advised Dr. Stephen L. Clifford, Forensic Scientist; of the Forensic Science Laboratory to send back the intestines and blood samples and they were subsequently sent by registered mail. In view of certain doubts in the mind of the Commission the intestines were sent back to the pathologists of the Victoria Hospital to carry out further tests in order to ascertain whether they were of human origin. Dr. Betsy Chavez, Acting Consultant-In –Charge of Pathology, stated that because the intestines had not been properly preserved they have deteriorated completely and it was not possible to carry out any further examination on them. Both Dr. Chavez and Dr. Zlatkovic stated before the Commission in their testimony that it was not possible to distinguish between a human intestine and that of a calf dog, goat, cat or pig. When Dr. Zlatkovic was asked by the Commission whether she could say with certainty that the intestines were of human origin her answer was: “No. not at all”.
Dr. Stephen L. Clifford in a Report issued on the 30th of March 2009 that was handed over to me by Mr. Coen had stated that “Insufficient DNA was obtained from the blood sample of Regina Simeon and a DNA profile could not be generated for her.” Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Coen in an e-mail sent to Dr. S.M. Willis dated 23rd April 2009 had stated “Remember that Regina’s specimen was contaminated in transit leaving Dr. Clifford with an impossible task of profiling.” Mr. Coen testifying before the Commission in respect of the intestines he carried to Ireland said: “My understanding is that they were improperly preserved in the first instance for DNA examinations…………..and in fact that made subsequent DNA testing difficult and that is not the correct forensic procedure.” In the Report Dr. Clifford had stated that on examination of the DNA extracted from the blood sample of Morris Hoareau and that of the intestines, that the intestines were from a biological offspring of Morris Hoareau. In a subsequent e-mail to Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Coen dated 19th May 2009, Dr. Clifford had stated “I will be sending a new (second) report because we finally got a profile from Regina Simeon’s sample, after numerous attempts, and I have updated the report to reflect this.” Dr. Clifford in his Second Report produced by Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Coen to the Commission as exhibit 37 had stated: “In the present case, half the DNA elements seen in the profile from the intestine are seen each in the profiles of Morris Hoareau and Regina Simeon. I estimate that the profile from the intestine sample is approximately forty nine million times more likely to be seen if the sample is from a son of Morris Hoareau and Regina Simeon than if it is from a person unrelated to them.”
In a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Police dated the 24th of April 2009, the Commissioner of Inquiry had requested for a detailed statement from Dr. Stephen L. Clifford as to the technology used to polymerise segments of DNA on this matter. A response to this was later forwarded by an e-mail dated the 20th of May 2009.
It is to be noted that DNA is just another piece of physical evidence. The statistical evidence interpreting the DNA match is expert evidence. Any DNA evidence and its accompanying statistics must be evaluated cautiously with knowledge of its limitations and in context with all the other evidence. If there is no other evidence it is difficult to make a determination based purely on DNA evidence for like all evidence DNA can be used, misused and abused. In the South Australian decision of R V Karger (2002) 83 SASR 135 Doyle CJ said:
“The statistical evidence interpreting the significance of DNA match is not evidence of the probability that the appellant was the source of the incriminating DNA. To so regard it would be to make an error. However the statistical evidence interpreting the DNA match is expert evidence that the jury could use in deciding whether it was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant was the source of the incriminating DNA. The statistical evidence is undeniably strong evidence pointing to a conclusion that the accused was the source of the incriminating DNA, but is not direct evidence of that fact. And, as is obvious, the statistical evidence must be considered in the light of other evidence in the case.
It was for the jury to consider the evidence and to decide what significance and weight should be attached to the evidence. The jury was not obliged to act on the evidence. Nor should the jury allow any expert opinion put before them to be used as a substitute for their own satisfaction, to the appropriate degree of proof, of a matter required to be proved as part of the prosecution case. The proper approach to the issue whether the incriminating DNA came from the appellant, and to the issue of the crime charged, was to treat the statistical evidence as evidence to be considered and weighed along with the other circumstantial evidence, not allowing it to displace or to overwhelm the consideration of all material evidence, but at the same time giving it such weight as the jury thought proper.”
DNA evidence is not infallible for there is the potential for human error. There may be innocent, accidental or malicious reasons for a false match or a false exclusion. No matter how good the laboratory procedures are, errors do occur. Further there is so much we do not know about DNA and statistics and population genetics. In many cases it is not the technology or the science but the supervising biologist’s subjective interpretation of the results that is the crucial factor in assessing whether the samples match. What the biologist is doing is looking at the computer read-outs and coming to a conclusion. In some cases the read outs will be clear and in others they will be far from clear at all. Where professional judgment and expertise are required to be exercised there is a basis for doubt.
In the case of R V Ward (1993) 96 Cr App R it was held:
“Forensic scientists may become partisan. The very fact that the police seek their assistance may create a relationship between the police and the forensic scientists. And the adversarial character of proceedings tends to promote this process…………..”
CLOTHING OF LITTLE ABDUL FOUND IN THE SEA:-
What had remained of the clothing of little Abdul were the half of the left side of the shirt, half of the rightside of his khaki shorts and his torn underwear. What was apparent to the Commission that both the shirt and shorts were torn exactly in half and did not have a concave shape resembling the mouth of a fish or sea creature. It is difficult to understand how a fish could bite off one half of the right side of the shirt without any damage to the right side of the shorts and then bite off the left side of the shorts without any damage to the left side of the shirt. The only explanation to this would be the fish taking a bite from the left side of little Abdul and then turning around and attacking him from his right side or two fish attacking little Abdul from the right and left. Even if this is possible it is difficult to understand how the lower part of the left side of the shirt and the upper part of the right side of the shorts remained intact. Did the fish choose to bite only up to the right side hem of the shirt avoiding carefully the right side of the shorts and left side of the shorts avoiding carefully the left side hem of the shirt? How did the left side of the shirt and the right side of the shorts along with the underwear come out of that part of the body without any remnants of flesh attached to it? The tear on the underwear does not synchronize with the tear on the shorts. Examination by the Forensic Scientist revealed after examination that there was no blood on the shirt. What became of the body of little Abdul, the flesh, the bones, the hair, the skull? Not a piece of his body was found despite a search being conducted in that area of the sea for three days.
Mr Rondolf Payet, Managing Director of the Seychelles Fishing Authority was directed by the Commission to carry out an examination of the clothing of little Abdul found in the sea. Mr. Payet testifying before the Commission said that had little Abdul being attacked by a sea creature he would have expected to see serrated edges where the tear in the clothing had taken place. He said that the design of the tear does not indicate an attack by a fish. He categorically said that it is impossible to think that little Abdul was attacked by a sea creature. Mr Gaetan Payet, a fisherman for 26 years, who recovered the part of the shirt, part of the khaki short, part of the underwear and some animal or human intestines from the sea said that if a shark had attacked little Abdul it would have left a roundish mark on the clothing. It was clear from his evidence that he did not believe that little Abdul had met his death in the sea.
In view of these facts set out above I do not want to place reliance on the DNA evidence. The question therefore remains what happened to little Abdul. Is littleAbdul yet alive? Is he living presently in another country? Was he killed by Morris and his body parts disposed of else where and his intestines thrown into the sea? Did he fall into the sea accidentally? Did Morris, deliberately throw him into the sea? Unfortunately the police have considered only the last two possibilities and most possibly the last of these possibilities. That is why they treated Morris as a suspect and took him handcuffed when they went to Anse Major looking for little Abdul. If the police had not rushed to conclusions and not treated Morris as a suspect Morris would still be living and we may have had more insight into what became of little Abdul. Regina may have a reason to remain unperturbed by the disappearance of little Abdul. Does she know more than what she said?
The question whether Morris deliberately killed his son little Abdul begs an answer. Could Morris have killed his son little Abdul to get even with Regina? It is clear from the evidence of Regina, the mother and sister of Morris that Morris very much loved his son little Abdul and would not have harmed him. According to Regina, Morris had called her around 07.30 A.M. and informed her that when he got up around 02.00 A.M. he had found little Abdul missing. He had repeated this to Cpl Agnes Fanchette of the Central police station. In the purse of Morris that was taken into police custody on the morning of the 5th of March when Morris came to the police station there was a photograph of little Abdul. There were also some other drawings of little Abdul in the bag of Morris that was taken over by the Beau Vallon police. There is no doubt that Morris had told his mother and sister, when he spoke to them over the phone on the evening of the 4th of March, that he would kill little Abdul and himself. According to Regina and the mother of Morris this may have been to get attention and get Regina to come to him. Who could be the best judge to interpret his words, actions and behavior than the ones closest to him? According to Regina, the mother and sister of Morris, Morris was depressed during this period. But there is no record of his being ever a psychiatric patient. In fact during this period he had been working at Labriz, Silhouette.
CONCLUSION OF THE COMMISSION AS TO WHAT HAPPENED TO ABDUL RAHIM HOAREAU AND RECOMMENDATIONS:-
It is clear that there has been a serious lapse in the investigation into the disappearance of little Abdul. The police have rushed to conclusions and then closed the matter as to little Abdul’s disappearance associating it only with his death and that at the hands of his father Morris. They saw his slippers on the rock where he had slept on the night of the 4th of March; his clothing, his school bag and some intestines in the sea and without further inquiry rushed to the conclusion that Morris was responsible for little Abdul’s death. All that they have been interested was to take the intestines to Ireland for DNA testing. They have acted on the DNA evidence as if it is infallible despite certain difficulties in relying upon such evidence, namely that the intestines were rushed to Ireland without consulting Dr. Marija Zlatcovic which prevented her from carrying out tests to confirm that they were in fact of human origin, the view expressed by both pathologists of the Victoria Hospital before the Commission that they are unable to distinguish between intestines of a human and that of a calf, dog, goat, cat or pig by merely looking at them, the fact that the intestines that were taken to Ireland by Chief Superintendent Liam Coen had not been properly preserved and according to Mr. Coen’ own admission that this made subsequent DNA testing difficult, the fact that the intestines that came back from Ireland after being subjected to DNA tests had completely deteriorated which made it impossible for the pathologists at the Victoria Hospital to carry out further tests to ascertain whether they were of human origin, Mr. Coen’s correspondence with the authorities in the Laboratory in Ireland in which he states that Regina’s blood specimen was contaminated in transit leaving Dr. Clifford with an impossible task of profiling, the fact that Dr. Cliffford in his first Report had stated that insufficient DNA was obtained from the blood sample of Regina Simeon and a DNA profile could not be generated for her, the potential for human error in DNA testing, the decision in the case of R V Ward (1993) 96 Cr App R to the effect that forensic scientists may become partisan and the evidence of Mr. Randolf Payet before the Commission that it is impossible to think that little Abdul was attacked by a sea creature.
It is the recommendation of the Commission to leave the issue of what happened to little Abdul open and investigate the matter further. That the intestines recovered from the sea are that of little Abdul is one of the possibilities but there could be others. That little Abdul fell into the sea or was thrown into the sea are also possibilities but there could be others. I therefore recommend that the Commissioner of Police be directed to detail a senior police officer to investigate the disappearance of little Abdul. I believe Regina Simeon may be of assistance.
It is recommended that the police when investigating cases should consider all possibilities and not rush to conclusions.
HOW DID MORRIS HOAREAU COME BY HIS DEATH?:-
On the morning of the 5th of March 2009, 7 police officers, four officers from the Central police station, namely Inspector Christel Clare Marie, Detective Cpl. Agnes Fanchette, Detective L/Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe and Cpl Georgie Freminot; three officers from the Dog Unit, namely Desire Boniface, L/Cpl 222 John Philip Labiche and P.C. 111 Milius, with their dogs accompanied by Morris Hoareau had proceeded to the rock called Roze Mazeni at Anse Major where police allege Morris leapt to his death. Morris was handcuffed from behind. While walking up the cliff Inspector Christel Clare Marie and Detective Cpl. Agnes Fanchette lagged behind as Inspector Marie was having difficulty in walking up the trail. The five other officers had walked ahead. On taking a turn near a big roundish boulder they had come to an open area overlooking the sea. This was an area roughly of the size of the court room in which the proceedings were being conducted. From the edge of this cliff there was a precipitous drop to the sea of 20.52 meters. That part of the cliff towards the sea was steeper than that part facing the land. Morris had then pointed out the place where he slept the previous night and this was the part towards the land. Cpl Georgie Freminot had then seen a slipper, later identified by Regina as belonging to little Abdul, and called out aloud to the other officers. At that moment according to Desire Boniface, Morris who was standing a few feet away from him, towards the steeper part of the cliff, had lifted up his jeans from behind and jumped backwards to the sea crashing on to some branches of a Cassurina tree growing below the rock. The Commission has difficulty in accepting Boniface’s evidence that Morris who was handcuffed from behind could have lifted up his jeans and even if it was so, how Boniface could have seen it.
Mr. Dennis Jeffrey Barbe, Director of Surveys at the Ministry of National Development and Mr. Parinda Herath, Senior Engineer at the Seychelles Land Transport Agency were directed by the Commission to visit the scene and carry out certain investigations. Mr. Barbe was directed to measure the distance from the place where Morris had jumped, as pointed out by Desire Boniface, up to the brach of the cassurina tree where Morris had gone crashing through before he fell into the sea. In answer to a question from the Commission Mr. Barbe said that he had measured the distance as if measuring the distance in a long jump and the distance was between 11 to 12 meters. Prior to the visit of Mr. Barbe, Mr Parinda Herath visited the scene with Cpl Georgie Freminot and Desire Boniface, where Boniface had pointed out the place from where Morris had jumped. Mr. Herath had marked the place with some yellow paint. It is from this place marked in yellow paint that Mr. Barbe had measured the distances.
Cpl. Georgie Freminot testifying before the Commission on the 21st of April 2009 stated that he saw Morris falling down from the rock up to a depth of 10 meters or more. When questioned by the Commission as to whether he could see a person falling down up to a depth of 10 meters from where he (Cpl.Freminot) was standing his answer was: “I swear I saw him fall down”. Desire Boniface; L/Cpl 222 John Philip Labiche; Andre Cornellus Beer, Mr. Dennis Jeffrey Barbe, Director of Surveys at the Ministry of National Development and Mr. Parinda Herath, Senior Engineer at the Seychelles Land Transport Agency specifically stated that it is impossible for a person standing on that rock to see a person falling to a depth of 10 meters. The Commission made the same observation when it made a locus in quo on the 22nd of April 2009. Mr. Liam Quinn, Chief Sperintendent and Director of Operations and Training when called upon to comment on Cpl. Freminot’s evidence in regard to this matter said that one’s vision is determined by the line of sight and it is physically impossible to see beyond the line of sight. Mr. Liam Coen, Chief Superintendent and the officer presently in charge of the Investigations Unit of the Seychelles Police Force, when called upon to comment on the same matter to the disbelief of the Commission said: “But if he said he thought he saw very well we must accept what he said.”
When Cpl. Freminot was re-summoned by the Commission on the 19th of May to give him an opportunity to clarify his evidence, having clearly maintained at first his earlier stance of having seen Morris fall to a depth of 10 meters suddenly changed his position to say that what he meant was that he had seen Morris fall on the branch of the casurina tree after rolling in the air, which he indicated by the movement of his hand. He then admitted before the Commission that his earlier version given to the Commission was not true, that it was not correct. After being informed by the Commission that Morris, who was handcuffed from behind while jumping backwards could not have broken the long jump record for both males (7.86 meters) and females (6.57 meters) in the Seychelles and also the Olympic long jump (8.9 meters) record he agreed to a specific question put to him by the Commission that that his evidence on that matter cannot be accepted by the Commission as truthful evidence.
Mr. Herath stated it is very unlikely that a person handcuffed from behind and jumping backwards could clear a distance of 11 meters before crashing on to the branch of the cassurina tree. Mr. Liam Quinn, Chief Superintendent and Director of Operations and Training, when called upon to comment on Desire Boniface’s evidence about the distance that Morris had jumped said: “ I suppose it is a matter of fact really, if it is feasibly possible or not and clearly from the photograph, it is not possible.” (A digital photograph enlarged by the projector showing the spot from which Morris is alleged to have jumped up to the branch of the cassurina tree was shown to him). On this matter too, when Mr. Coen’s views were sought about Morris who was handcuffed from behind somersaulting in the air for about 10 meters; to the disbelief of the Commission said: “I would accept and I have watched your own people here flipping backwards in the sea.”
It is clear from the evidence that five police officers were at the rock when Morris is alleged to have jumped. They are Detective L/Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe, Cpl Georgie Freminot, Desire Boniface, L/Cpl 222 John Philip Labiche and P.C. 111 Milius, with their dogs. L/Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe tried to distance herself from the scene saying that she had not arrived at that place at the time Morris jumped. But it is clear from the evidence of Inspector Christel Clare Marie, Detective Cpl. Agnes Fanchette who were behind her that she was already there. L/Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe admitted when re-summoned by the Commission on the 19th of May to give her an opportunity to clarify her evidence that there was a clear contradiction between her evidence and that of Inspector Christel Clare Marie and Detective Cpl. Agnes Fanchette. What is befuddling the Commission is why L/Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe was trying to distance herself from the scene.
From the facts set out above it is to be noted that out of 7 police officers who visited the rock with Morris only two claim to have seen their detainee Morris jump from the rock. When Mr. Liam Quinn, Chief Superintendent and Director of Operations and Training was asked by the Commission as to whether he had any comments to make about what happened to Morris on the rock his answer was “I am troubled about it, Judge. I am troubled about it.” He went on to state that that it was certainly unusual and strange that only one officer out of 7 had seen what happened given the fact that all the officers including Morris were in very close proximity to each other and especially because they were never out of sight of each other. As far as Mr. Coen, the officer presently in charge of the Investigations Unit of the Seychelles Police Force was concerned: “We understood and I am satisfied that Mr. Morris Hoareau was the cause of his own death on that particular day.” This was his testimony before the Commission on the 19th of May and after Desire Boniface, Cpl Freminot and Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe and all the witnesses save Mr. Liam Quinn had testified.
The external and internal injuries found on Morris Hoareau at his post mortem examination are consistent with both being hit with a blunt weapon or a fall from the rock and drowning. The internal injuries in the head according to Dr. Marija Zlatkovic and Dr. Betsy Chavez, pathologists at the Victoria hospital could have been as a result of the external injury at the back of the head of Morris, which could have been caused by being hit with a blunt weapon or a fall from the rock. What is most disturbing in this case is that the police photographer Detective Assistant Superintendent Mr. Yves Leon had failed to photograph this injury and failed to refer to it while testifying before the Commission. It was only when the mother of Morris, Ms. Rose Jesintha Hoareau; S.I.Wayne Sanders; L/Cpl Julien Sanders and P.C. Steve-Jerry Jupiter came to testify, that the injury to the head came to light. The injury was clearly seen in a digital photograph presented on CD to the Commission by the mother of Morris. I fail to understand why Mr. Yves Leon failed to take this photograph. When re-called by the Commission to testify before it Mr. Leon in all honesty admitted that it was a mistake on his part. But when Mr. Liam Coen was questioned about this he said that the “photographs are taken not on the initiatives of the photographer”. Again to the specific question addressed by the Commission to Mr. Coen: “Now what you are saying is he only should photograph only those parts of the body which he is asked to photograph by the pathologist” Mr. Coen’s answer was: “He is basically there to assist the pathologist. That would be my understanding of why a photographer is at the postmortem not to take photographs himself……….They should surely discuss as to what photographs should be taken.” When questioned as to what would happen if the police photographer were to see a injury which the pathologist through negligence does not request the police photographer to photograph, Mr. Coen was non-plussed. Dr. Marija Zlatkovic stated to the Commission that the injury to the head was necessarily fatal and Morris would have succumbed to his injuries within five minutes of receiving them. She also stated that the laceration wounds of the right elbow were ante-mortem and could have been caused by blunt force. It is clear to the Commission after the testimony of the pathologists that there is a need for a Forensic Pathologist to assist in the investigation of serious crimes involving injuries. Both Drs Zlatkouic and Chavez are not forensic pathologists. A forensic pathologist is not only interested in the cause of death, but every minute injury on the body which would corroborate either the prosecution or the defence case. Therefore they would record every minute detail they see on a dead body, which a normal pathologist would certainly not do. They are able to comment on the type of weapon used and in the case of gun shot injuries the distance and the direction of fire. The lack of experience of Dr. Zlatkovic became clear from the answer she gave the Commission when questioned as to whether she did not expect to see more fractures on the body of Morris if he had bounced on the rocks before falling into the sea. Her answer was: “Because in this case one is enough what he had. (This was a reference undoubtedly to the fracture at the base of the skull) Even if there is more like the fracture of the leg, fracture whatever does not matter I mean as a cause of death” (Reported verbatim). It is clear she was only interested in the possible cause of death and not how the injuries had occurred.
Mr Liam Coen’s testimony that “Mr. Morris Hoareau was the cause of his own death on that particular day” and “I do accept from Mr. Boniface and Mr. Freminot that this man jumped off the rock” needs further examination. Mr. Liam Coen’s testimony is to the effect that Morris committed suicide. The issue is what evidence do we have to make such an inference? The point the police were trying to make out was that when Morris realized that little Abdul’s slippers were found he out of realization that he would now be arrested for the murder of his son or through sorrow that his son had accidentally fallen into the sea committed suicide. It was Regina’s position before the Commission that Morris would have seen the slippers by the time he came to the Beau Vallon police station and this was not something he discovered when Cpl. Freminot shouted. Regina’s evidence before the Commission in this regard needs consideration: “If he had seen Abdul’s slippers, from the morning he woke up, why didn’t he jump? He had to jump when coming back again? And if he did something bad to Abdul, why, he came down to the police station and reported this.”(Reported verbatim). When the mother of Morris was asked the following question by the Commission: “Q. You just mentioned that you heard from the police that your son Morris jumped from the rock and committed suicide when he saw Abdul’s slippers probably thinking Abdul has died, what did you think of that knowing your son?”, her answer was: “I don’t think it is true because if Morris had done something bad to Abdul, Morris could not have come down from there to come to look for help from the police. Morris loved his family. Morris could not hurt Abdul.” There was no doubt that Morris was very depressed during this period. There is the evidence of the mother and sister of Morris that on the evening of the 4th of March, Morris had told both his mother and sister that he would kill Abdul and himself. They also testified that prior to this date Morris had never threatened to kill himself or Abdul. They also said that the threat extended on the 4thof March, may have been merely to attract attention.
When Mr. Liam Quinn, Chief Superintendent was requested for his views by the Commission as to the manner the police took care of Morris Hoareau who was in their custody and handcuffed from behind when he was taken to Roze Mazeni, the place he is alleged to have jumped his answer was: “Judge they did not take care of him and I think one of the reasons why we are here is that they did not take care of him……..Because if they did take care of him, what happened would not have happened.” And again: “Clearly, what happened on that day, where a person in custody was taken up to, what was, can only be described as, I think a highly dangerous terrain, while his hands were restrained behind his back, in a situation where you need both of your hands to remain, to keep your balance, I think was inadequate, to say the least” (Reported verbatim). To a question by the Commission that the very fact that he was handcuffed would have prevented him from maintaining a proper balance on that very dangerous area where he was, Mr. Quinn’s answer was: “There was a real possibility that the man could fall, on the rocks, without having his hands to balance with.” He also said: “The police officer should have maintained contact with that person at all times, given the fact that his hands were restrained and he had no possibility to maintain his balance. He would have needed assistance to maintain his balance, his hands were restrained.” It was observed by the Commission when it did a locus in quo that the part of the rock in which Morris stood with the rest of the police officers was extremely dangerous.
CONCLUSION OF THE COMMISSION AS TO HOW MORRIS HOAREAU CAME BY HIS DEATH AND RECOMMENDATIONS:-
In view of the circumstances enumerated above the Commission has no other option than to reject completely the police version as to how Morris came by his death as false, namely the testimony of Desire Boniface that Morris who was handcuffed from behind had lifted his jeans from the waist jumped backwards 10 meters, breaking the Seychelles and Olympic records for long jump and had crashed on to the branches of a cassurina tree before falling into the sea below. The Commission also rejects Cpl. Freminot’s evidence that he saw Morris falling below the rock up to a depth of more than 10 meters. The Commission finds that Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe was not truthful when she said that she was not in that area where the drawings of little Abdul were found, when Morris jumped. The Commission finds that the manner Mr. Liam Coen; Chief Superintendent and the Officer presently in charge of the Investigations Unit of the Seychelles Police Force and the person who “assisted in directing the operations and had oversight of the whole investigation”; had conducted the investigations into the death of Morris Hoareau, was totally wanting and his testimony before the Commission as untruthful.
As a result of poor investigations by the police, the manner Morris Hoareau came by his death would remain to be in the realm of possibilities such as Morris jumped from the rock and committed suicide (But not in the manner as testified by Police Officer Desire Boniface and Cpl. Georgie Freminot), that he fell from the rock by loosing his balance as he was handcuffed, that he fell as result of being beaten by some police officers or through fear of the police dogs or that when he was beaten he fell down unconscious and some officers rolled him down the rock fearing he was dead.
Even if we accept the police version that Morris jumped to his death, one thing is certain, namely the police are responsible for his death in not taking care of a person in their custody and having him handcuffed in a dangerous terrain where he needed his hands free to balance himself. I therefore recommend that the Government must compensate the legal heirs of Morris Hoareau. The amount and the persons entitled to be compensated should be determined by the Hon. Attorney General.
The Commission recommends that services of a Forensic Pathologist should be obtained to assist in the investigation of serious crimes involving injuries.
To expect Mr. Liam Coen, Chief Superintendent and the officer presently in charge of the Investigations Unit of the Seychelles Police Force to investigate the circumstances under which Morris came by his death would be futile in view of his attitude towards this case. I therefore recommend that the Commissioner of Police be directed to detail a senior police officer to investigate the death of Morris Hoareau.
I also request the Hon. Attorney General to consider preferring charges against Cpl Georgie Freminot under section 102 of the Penal Code for Perjury and the Commissioner of Police to take disciplinary action against such officer. The relevant portion where it is alleged he committed perjury is when he told the Commission:
“ Q. So now you are telling the court that what you told the Commission, that you saw him fall down to a depth of 10 meters or more, is not correct?
A. Not correct.
Q. It is not true?
A. Not true. May be I was confused……”
To ascertain whether he was confused or giving false testimony one has to examine his evidence given to the Commission on the 21st of April 2009 and the 19th of May 2009.
I shall deal with this module setting out in point form the several lapses or wrongful conduct of the Police in respect of this case.
· Failure of the police to respond to the complaint made by Regina Simeon in the early hours of the morning of the 1st of March 2009 that Morris Hoareau was damaging their house and not taking any action whatsoever in respect of this matter.
Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Quinn’s when questioned about this said that it was absolutely incorrect on the part of the police to fail to respond to such a complaint. He said it was a clear failure to perform the duty that is expected of the police. He said he has now issued directives as to how the police should respond when complaints are made.
· Referring Regina Simeon to Beau Vallon police station on the basis that it was her district when she reported to the Central Police Station on the evening of the 4th of March 2009 that her husband had taken their son little Abdul, that he had threatened to harm little Abdul and that she does not know their whereabouts; without taking any action.
When Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Quinn was asked whether this was proper his answer was “Totally unacceptable” and that type of complaint required “instantaneous response.”
· Police officers visiting Anse Major accompanied by Regina Simeon to look for little Abdul on the night of the 4th of March remaining close to the police vehicle without making any effort to look for little Abdul or Morris Hoareau.
When Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Quinn was asked whether this was correct his answer was “Clearly unacceptable” and that this could not be considered as police assistance to a woman in distress.
· Police officers going on investigation at night to a very rocky and dangerous area without carrying any torches with them. The reason adduced by the officers of the Beau Vallon police station being that there were no torches at that time at the Beau Vallon or Central police station.
When Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Quinn’s views were sought whether this was correct, his answer was “This is totally inadequate”. His recommendation to avert such an incident in the future was to issue a torch to every officer and they should carry torches when going on investigations at night.
· Police officers who are off duty, under the influence of alcohol helping out in an investigation.
When Chief Superintendent Mr. Liam Quinn’s views were sought on this matter he said; “That it is unacceptable for an officer to perform a public duty, such as policing, while under the influence of alcohol.”
· The manner the police took care of Morris Hoareau who was in their custody and handcuffed from behind, when he was taken to Roze Mazeni, the place from where he is alleged to have jumped into the sea.
When Mr. Liam Quinn’s, views were sought on this, his response was: “Judge they did not take care of him and I think one of the reasons why we are here is that they did not take care of him……..Because if they did take care of him, what happened would not have happened.” And again: “Clearly, what happened on that day, where a person in custody was taken up to, what was, can only be described as, I think a highly dangerous terrain, while his hands were restrained behind his back, in a situation where you need both of your hands to remain, to keep your balance, I think was inadequate, to say the least” (Reported verbatim). To a question by the Commission that the very fact that he was handcuffed would have prevented him from maintaining a proper balance on that very dangerous area where he was, Mr. Quinn’s answer was: “There was a real possibility that the man could fall, on the rocks, without having his hands to balance with.” He also said: “The police officers should have maintained contact with that person at all times, given the fact that his hands were restrained and he had no possibility to maintain his balance. He would have needed assistance to maintain his balance, his hands were restrained.”
· Regina Simeon was not informed by the police on the morning of the 5th of March that they were going with Morris to Anse Major to look for little Abdul, despite the fact that she was at the Central Police Station.
Mr. Liam Quinn, when questioned about it said that she should have been told. If she had gone we would have had a better idea as to what happened to Morris Hoareau at Roze Mazeni.
· Morris Hoareau’ mother and sister not allowed to speak to Regina when they came to the Central Police Station.
Mr. Liam Quinn when questioned about this informed the Commission that this was not correct.
· Morris Hoareau’s mother and sister and Regina not informed by the police of the death of Morris Hoareau. In fact when Morris Hoareau’s sister, Jamie Hoareau came to the Central Police Station at about 04.00 P.M. and asked a police officer as to what has happened to Morris, the police officer had told her that she did not know.
Mr. Liam Quinn was of the view that this was a terrible mistake. Mr. Quinn went on to state that “One of the first requirements in a situation like that is to appoint a Family Liaison Officer, whose first responsibility will be to inform the next of kin, as soon as possible.”
When questioned as to whether this action on the part of the police to deliberately not inform the next of kin of Morris of what had happened to Morris could give rise to suspicion in the minds of the next of kin, Mr. Quinn answered in the affirmative.
· The Public Relations Officer of the Seychelles Police had told Regina soon after she had been told about the death of Morris that she should not spread any information about it.
Mr. Quinn said that this was unjustified and unnecessary and cannot understand why such a restriction was imposed. He also said that such a restriction is unenforceable.
Mr. Quinn agreed with the Commission that this action on the part of the police to keep the next of kin of Morris uninformed of the events leading to the death of Morris and Regina being asked not to spread any information after she was told of what happened to Morris gives rise to suspicions. Mr. Quinn said “The police should be open at all times about issues that occurred and there should be public knowledge”.
· Failure of P.C Kevin Issac on the 19th of May, to produce the money, namely SR 1238/- that was in the possession of Morris Hoareau which the police took over along with his other possessions when Morris came to the Beau Vallon police station on the morning of the 5th of March; while producing before the Commission what was taken over from Morris; until the Commission queried about it.
S.I. Wayne Sanders who finally produced it said, he had collected the money from S.I. Freminot after the Commission had queried about it. S.I. Fremonot was the one, according to S.I. Sanders who had taken the money from Morris Hoareau on the morning of the 5th of March. S.I. Sanders said that the money was in a locked drawer at the Beau Vallon police station and the key to that locker had been with S.I. Freminot. S.I. Freminot had stopped working at Beau Vallon police station in April 2009 and had moved to Central Police Station. S.I. Freminot could not be found on the 19th of May despite attempts by S.I. Sanders, to clarify the position to the Commission.
This is a matter which warrants an internal examination by the Commissioner of Police.
· The Commission has already come to the conclusion that it has no other option than to reject completely the police version as to how Morris came by his death as false, namely the testimony of Desire Boniface that Morris who was handcuffed from behind had lifted his jeans from the waist and jumped backwards 10 meters, breaking the Seychelles and Olympic records for long jump and had crashed on to the branches of a cassurina tree before falling into the sea below. The Commission also rejects Cpl. Freminot’s evidence that he saw Morris falling below the rock up to a depth of more than 10 meters. The Commission finds that Cpl 179 Lorna Barbe was not truthful when she said that she was not in that area where the drawings of little Abdul were found, when Morris jumped. The Commission finds that the manner Mr. Liam Coen; Chief Superintendent and the officer presently in charge of the Investigations Unit of the Seychelles Police Force and the person who “assisted in directing the operations and had oversight of the whole investigation”; had conducted the investigations into the death of Morris Hoareu, was totally wanting and his testimony before the Commission as untruthful.
· The need for an independent and impartial body to investigate suspicious conduct on the part of the police.
When questioned by the Commission whether there is a need for such a body Mr. Quinn answered in the affirmative and suggested an establishment of a Police Ombudsman as they have in Ireland. This authority has bee established by the Garda Siochana Act 2005. Garda Siochana when translated into English means ‘Guardians of the Peace’.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMISSION AS REGARDS WRONGFUL POLICE CONDUCT:-
I have set out above the shortcomings and the faults of the Police in the way they handled this case. Save for the last two points the rest of the matters can be corrected by administrative circulars and setting out the procedure for disciplinary action against those who fail to comply with the directions set out in the said circulars. It is recommended that the Commissioner of Police should take appropriate disciplinary action against the officers referred to in the penultimate bullet point. As regards the matter dealt with in the last bullet point, having a separate Police Ombudsman is not necessary. Investigation of complaints against the Police can be dealt with by the Human Rights Commission or the Ombudsman established under the Constitution. What is necessary is to sensitize the general public that complaints against the Police can be made to these two institutions.
SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:-
- It is clear that there has been a serious lapse in the investigation into the disappearance of little Abdul. The police have rushed to conclusions and then closed the matter as to little Abdul’s disappearance associating it only with his death and that at the hands of his father Morris Hoareau. It is the recommendation of the Commission to leave the issue of what happened to little Abdul open and investigate the matter further. It is recommended that the police when investigating cases should consider all possibilities and not rush to conclusions.
- The Commission rejects completely the police version as to how Morris came by his death. The police are responsible for the death of Morris Hoareau in not taking care of him while he was in their custody and having him handcuffed in a dangerous terrain where he needed his hands free to balance himself. The Commission recommends that the Government compensates the legal heirs of Morris Hoareau.
- The Commission recommends that the Commissioner of Police be directed to detail a senior police officer to investigate the death of Morris Hoareau. It also requests of the Hon. Attorney General to consider preferring charges against Cpl Georgie Freminot under section 102 of the Penal Code for Perjury and the Commissioner of Police to take disciplinary action against such officer. Disciplinary action is also recommended against those police officers referred to in this report who failed to speak the truth before the Commission.
· The Commission recommends that services of a Forensic Pathologist should be obtained to assist in the investigation of serious crimes involving injuries.
- There were several faults and shortcomings on the part of the Police, as set out in this Report; in the manner they handled this case. They should be corrected by administrative circulars which should set out the procedure for disciplinary action against those who fail to comply with the directions set out in the said circulars.
- The general public should be sensitized that complaints against the Police can be made to the National Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman.
The Commission thanks the Secretary to the Commission Mrs. Vivienne Christine Vadivelo; stenographers Ms. Marie Claire Julie, Ms. Rosa Barbe, Ms. Jacqueline Simeon and Ms. Marie-Vonne Gabriel; Mr. Alex Larue, the Chief Court interpreter; the IT Technician Mr. Biko Biong; S.I. Cherryl Vengadasmy and Cpl. Chantal Prea of the Seychelles Police Force and the staff of the Court of Appeal for their unstinted support in the work of the Commission.
The Commission acknowledges with gratitude the advice of the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Francis MacGregor and the assistance given by the Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Melchior Vidot.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS
X1 Copy of the said Gazette Notification of Monday 16th March 2009
X2 Copy of the oath under the Commissions of Inquiry Act
X3 Copy of the Notice published on the Seychelles Nation of 20th and 21st of March 2009
X4 List of witnesses who testified before the Commission
X5 The two types of the Summonses issued on witnesses
X6 List of Exhibits
X7 Break Down of the Expenses of the Commission
X8 Record of Proceedings of witness testimony, consisting of 520 typed A4 papers