Corbishley: ‘Is No Evidence To Support This’

July 10, 2019

“The finding by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee that ‘an Order was given to Officers to deploy CAPTOR spray’ is a central theme of its report, however, the finding is erroneous and there is no evidence to support this,” Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said.

Commissioner Corbishley said, “I have had opportunity to read in detail the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee’s [PJSC] report into the events of 2nd December 2016.

“Whilst I was not the Police Commissioner at the time, I have responsibility to ensure the Bermuda Police Service [BPS] takes lessons from this day to ensure the way in which we manage such incidents in future, not least to secure the confidence of local communities in Bermuda that the BPS continues to be professional and operationally independent.

“The PJSC received extensive written submissions from the former Police Commissioner, Michael DeSilva, and heard evidence from the former Deputy Commissioner Paul Wright. Material in regards to the command of the operation was additionally provided.

“Importantly, a report undertaken by Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead, on behalf of the UK’s National Police Coordination Centre [NPoCC], an internationally recognised body of expertise in this area, was provided to the PJSC.

“This report highlighted 10 recommendations for the BPS to take forward in its future management of public protests and disorder. These recommendations have been addressed and I offered to the PJSC to attend and describe in detail the BPS’ response to these findings but this was not taken up.

“The NPoCC review, alongside the investigation by the independent Police Complaints Authority, found no evidence to suggest there was any third party direction given to the BPS in relation to its operational decisions on how to address and deal with the events of 2nd December, or indeed otherwise. That is because no such direction was given. The conduct of the BPS operation was internally driven through an independent police command structure and in no way was externally influenced. Any suggestion to the contrary is wholly without merit and is incapable of substantiation.

“Public order policing is a complex issue where there will inevitably be lessons learnt. It is essential to note that the officers involved in this operation faced hitherto unprecedented threats of violence and intimidation from protestors. Officers made independent decisions to use their captor spray in light of this threat.

“There is no evidence that a senior command order was made to action this use of force. The finding by the PJSC that ‘an Order was given to Officers to deploy CAPTOR spray’ is a central theme of its report. However, the finding is erroneous and there is no evidence to support this.

“The referenced video footage has been mischaracterized as a ‘command’ and/or an ‘order’ as distinct from an on the spot reaction of one officer to the impending peril that he or she felt alongside the threat fellow officers were facing in the height of the affray that was mounting.

“The fact remains that the use of CAPTOR spray was an independent decision left to each of the officers in question, a decision which was to be reached based upon their individual assessment of the situation that they were facing at any given time.

“The PJSC report also suggests that I, and the BPS, were uncooperative with its inquiry and that I myself ‘interfered’ with the process. I disagree with this suggestion and would highlight the extent of the material that was provided by the BPS, including the former Commissioner’s detailed written statement and the attendance of the former Deputy Commissioner to give oral evidence, together with my own offers to the committee.

“It is also suggested that the Gold Commander failed to comply with a summons issued. Again this is factually incorrect. The Gold Commander attended at the required time, date and place specified in the summons but was prevented from having any representation to assist him and advise him on how to deal with the unspecified questions to be presented to him by the PJSC, questions which may well have necessitated the invoking of immunities and privileges in the public interest and the interest of national security.

“This approach by the PJSC conflicted with the due process that I felt and feel should have been observed by the PJSC. The fact remains that the PJSC then released the Gold Commander from his attendance after he complied with the summons to attend. Subsequently, the Gold Commander provided, through myself, written answers to all of the written questions thereafter posed by the PJSC.

“Whilst formal correspondence is being progressed with the PJSC’s Chair to address the above and other points, I welcome the overall report and its findings.

“It is essential that the BPS learn from this event in ensuring that protests in future are lawfully conducted with consistent engagement with the parties involved and that any use of force is minimised.

“However, it is my position that the officers involved in the events of 2nd December 2016 performed their role under extremely difficult circumstances and were professional throughout.”

The report into the events of December 2nd 2016 follows below [PDF here]

click here Bermuda protest on Dec 2nd

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Comments (34)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    “The finding by the PJSC that ‘an Order was given to Officers to deploy CAPTOR spray’ is a central theme of its report. However, the finding is erroneous and there is no evidence to support this.”

    So, in other words, the PJSC report isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. The Premier knows this, and yet still made disingenuous comments to that effect yesterday.

    Bitcoin Dave is deflecting from the absolute shambles of economic policy over which he presides, and leaves Bermuda teetering at the edge of an economic abyss. He is a failure.

  2. truthertz says:

    You mean Burt was being misleading? Shocker.

    • Rubber says:

      he has been taught and LISTENS to his puppet master very well

  3. Mr. Apathy says:

    Well done Mr. Corbishley for calling out this highly partisan and factually inaccurate report for what it is! Amazing what the slightest bit of scrutiny can reveal! Are you tired of the PLP propaganda machine yet, Bermuda?

    Premier Burt and co. speak of this event as if it were some earth-shattering, national tragedy but I’m still waiting to hear what would have been deemed an alternative appropriate response by officers from those bemoaning the use of pepper spray. It is one of the least violent and harmful crowd dispersal tactics used by riot police ALL OVER THE WORLD, after all.

    Let the record show that protesters were given fair warning by officers that their blocking of parliament grounds was breaking the law and that they opted to put themselves in harm’s way by disobeying officers and threatening them with acts of violence simply for upholding the law. Quit flogging this dead horse and focus on our stagnant economy!

  4. Yes Eye says:

    Why is anyone felling that they need to defend the actions of the police. The protest was illegal. the blocking Parliament was illegal.

    The only people that need to speak up are the politicians, protest organizers and protesters that baited a few seniors into being put into a situation that was not safe – for their political benefit.

  5. puzzled says:

    Another attempt at issues by the PLP.

    Even their MP’s were in the midst of the turmoil and by design.

    Airport looks great.

    Nothing to see here except propaganda from the PLP.

  6. toadinthehole says:

    well, I know who I believe – afterall if Corbishley is wrong, he is seriously sticking out his neck.
    This has caught the report in an apparent lie – meaning the whole report’s credibility is fatally undermined.
    How much did this cost and what was Kim Swan paid?

  7. we know the truth says:

    the Government and it’s followers will always try to distort the truth to suit themselves.
    Real Bermudians are not as stupid as the Government thinks and will only take so much of their b/s.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      So if they’re not as stupid as government (or you) thinks how did we get 25-11 ?

  8. aceboy says:

    Kim Swan was tasked with getting a report done to show that the protest was peaceful and done for good reason and that the police and the OBA were to blame for what happened. The truth never had a chance to surface in that report.

  9. Onion Juice says:

    Well what did you expect, he didnt notice that they were outnumbered and didn’t have a clue what to do.
    I stopped listening to Colonial figures since I learned about their Historical Genocide Missions on Indigenous Peoples.

    • BB says:

      “I stopped listening to Colonial figures …”

      You mean Colonial Burch?

    • Question says:

      Like the genocide in Africa now?

    • Q says:

      “I stopped listening to Colonial figures”

      Colonial Burch?

    • Anbu says:

      Hey dumb dumb. No indigenous people here. Nice try tho. Ah whats the point? Stupid is as stupid does

  10. Onion Peels says:

    No evidence to support the report’s allegations?

    Of course there isn’t. That’s the hallmark of the plp government.

    “Arbitrade will bring hundreds of jobs to Bermuda and they have $16 billion in gold. No evidence of that either.

  11. Yh Not Serz says:

    Why is this still being discussed this was over two years ago.

  12. Stinky D. says:

    So Corbisley is saying that the videos are fake?
    He must be related to Trump
    Fake News

    • Rubber says:

      you need to be educated he said NO COMMAND TO USE , look at the videos and see your beloved agitator plp ministers at the forefront

  13. wahoo says:

    So we were lied to again?

  14. Beverly J Connell says:

    The Premier has stated that there was a “A regrettable lack of cooperation” You betcha. It Certainly was on the part of the PJS Committee who did not want to follow the ‘due process’ protocol….(which allows a witness to have representation present, in this case the Commissioner)…and as a result, the PJSC took their ‘toys and went home’, refusing to interview the Gold Commander at all………….and that’s why he was not interviewed…….

  15. Joe Bloggs says:

    Doesn’t this ex pat know that he is not allowed to contradict the Government?

  16. Y-Gurl says:

    The former commissioner and senior officers are 100% responsible and liable for this barbaric attack on people protesting peacefully, despite the new commissioner trying to marginalize this action

  17. Unbelievable.
    There is no belief here.
    One must always not believe what is written.It could be flawed. Evidence could be tainted!!
    There is a vast possibility that “the written” is false and leaky!!…having no substance.
    The incident DID HAPPEN and there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY from the upper hierarchy!!
    Obviously, the upper part of the hierarchy covered its backside!
    It shows its ugly head in Bermuda’s workplaces too!!!!

    • sandgrownan says:

      BORN BERMUDIANS?? Why don’t you say what you mean you coward.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      And the same applies for everything you write. Do you think anyone believes a word of it ?
      And you’re still positively livid that it’s been proven there was NO order from the OBA to use pepper spray ! LMAO

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Umm, no respect for BORN BERMUDIANS by whom? The Commissioner of Police at the time was a BORN BERMUDIAN. The Speaker of the House at the time was a BORN BERMUDIAN. Many of the police officers involved in the events are BORN BERMUDIAN.

      What is your point please?

    • question says:

      There was no order to use spray.

      And when spray was used, the effects of it wore off in an hour at most.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Funny how you’re all for BORN BERMUDIANS… until they’re gay and want equality.

      • hmmm says:

        What’s real funny is the oba aka your UBP didn’t give you nothing, but you voted strong 4 them.

        • Q says:

          “didn’t give you nothing”

          You’re right.

          Contradict…it’s a word that applies here. Look it up.

    • Anbu says:

      Easy fix. Dont assault police and u wont get whooped. Its a no brainer. Not their fault u “born bermudians” think u can just do what u want cause some muppet on a hill told u to. Act up? Get cracked. Plain and simple. Dont cry. Get over it. Follow rules like the rest of us.

  18. Daren says:

    Bermuda is a joke flip flop was in the video acting like he didn’t know what was happening he is now one of the leaders of this country. Joke

  19. PL-Protestors says:

    Protesters just lucky that the Regiment wasn’t called to deal with it instead. There would have been more than a few CAPTOR tears that’s for sure.