Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Cops in Cuban paradise in living hell

with 29 comments

It was supposed to be a great week of fun in the sun, a week on the beach in Cuba, get out of the March rains in Vancouver and a much-needed respite from the stresses of the streets in the Lower Mainland for two cops. 

Mark Simms, 28, and close friend of 8 years, Jordan Long, 30, both have about six years law enforcement experience. Simms has been in Vancouver Police Department for over a year after spending years in Delta PD. Long spent years in Corrections before joining Port Moody Police Department about five years ago.  They lead clean lives spending most of their time keeping physically fit and working. 

The boys were sitting by the pool bar at their resort hotel having a few libations late in the afternoon they were approached by a female who was described as about 20 yrs old, 5’10” with a heavyset build. She started the conversation with the two holidaying officers by saying,”I just [expletive deleted] someone who looks like you.”

“I want more and I wouldn’t mind [expletive deleted] both of you,” said the female. 

After a bit of conversation, and, I might add, not accepting her generous offer, the boys excused themselves and got up to go back to their room to have their usual pre-dinner nap.  The girl followed. In the room Mark was laying on the bed nearest the washroom and Jordan went into the bathroom. The female followed and the boys were passive, not dismissing her. 

Once in the room, the female undressed and threw herself onto the bed with Mark while Jordan went into the bathroom. The girl then got out of bed, entered the bathroom, grabbed Jordan by the neck and tried to pull his face toward her in an effort to kiss him. He didn’t want anything to do with her and pulled away and went out onto the balcony.

Upset by Jordan’s rejection, the girl then climbed back onto the bed with Mark and, being a young, healthy, single male, consensual activity ensued. 

After the brief encounter, the female went out to the balcony and asked Jordan to help tie her bikini top. Jordan declined again, not wanting anything to do with her.  Unlike Mark, he was not available.

The female left shortly thereafter and the boys laid down to have a nap.  They were awakened by hotel security about 30 minutes later and taken downstairs where they heard “That’s them.” Police were then called and they had Jordan get his things. 

Without any explanation or reason given, they were taken to a police station in Santa Marta.  They were questioned separately in Spanish with only a Sunwing rep to translate, denied access to a lawyer and kept in cells for 7 days.

Jordan had managed to keep his cell phone secreted on him and when he had the opportunity he called the Canadian Embassy in Havana and his brother back in Vancouver. Meanwhile the girl was allowed to return to her home in Ontario. She did not give a formal statement where investigators could question her properly. 

Under Cuban law she doesn’t have to testify. Defence and prosecution counsel are supposed to be present during such a statement interview which is the only chance an accused, via counsel, can challenge the accuser. This legal procedure was not adhered to.

The only evidence they have seen is from a female accuser’s written statement, in which she stated she was dragged from the pool, through the busy hotel lobby to the boy’s room, where she claims she was held down by the neck and shoulders and raped. 

They have since learned the police did take a test for the blood alcohol level in the female  and it was .12, well over the legal limit in Canada. The only problem was the test was taken almost as an afterthought – 17 hours later. 

It is believed these 17 hours were unsupervised, demonstrating a severe lack of continuity between the alleged incident and the time the blood was taken. In other words there is no evidence of what her Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level was at the time of the events. 

Considering that alcohol dissipates in the body at approximately .01% per hour, that would mean that, at the time of the events, she would have had a BAC of somewhere around .32 – .35 which might kill the average person. 

So, something’s not right. The boys said she appeared sober at the time.

Now, I should add that the Cuban Police,  Policía Nacional Revolucionaria or PNR, are primarily made up of conscripts. In Cuba there is conscription for everyone over 16 into either the army or the PNR. That could explain how the initial stages of this investigation were so screwed up. How bad?

There is no evidence the police even checked the lobby CCTV cameras which would have shown whether the female was in fact dragged through the lobby and up the stairs or not.  There is no mention in the police file whether video was reviewed at all or even if it still exists. 

In any ‘He said/She said’ investigation corroboration is key. The video would have been the ultimate corroboration supporting either the complainant or the boys. As it stands, what was left to the police was to interview staff to see if anyone could remember an incident as described by the girl. No one noticed any such thing. 

Now you’d think that if the girl was telling the truth someone would have noticed two men dragging a girl, in broad daylight, some 500 metres from the pool, across the resort, through the lobby and up three flights of stairs to a room.  No staff member saw any such thing nor did any other guest in the resort at the time report any such thing to hotel security.

Equally, once hotel security woke up the boys they were kept apart and questioned separately.  They both gave a similar version of events which, in and of itself, is corroboration of their story. The police did not bother interview any of the female’s friends who were with her on the trip.

I should also add there was a medical exam of the girl that proved negative for any injuries to her body, signs of force or vaginal damage. The female had insisted that a condom not be used, however, Mark wore one anyway.

There is so much wrong with this case. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of competence in the PNR investigators. Government of Canada representatives have been in touch but thus far don’t seem to be doing much of anything. 

A retired senior RCMP officer with 30 years experience in major crimes and serious sexual assaults has seen the evidence. He said, “I’m horrified at the lack of investigative safeguards and the quality of evidence.”

The boys are not allowed to leave the island nation and are staying at a lower-rent hotel and their funds are dwindling. They families have been helping but there is only so much they can do.  

The pastor at the family’s church, Rev. Blake Field at the Wilson Heights United, has been to Cuba twice to see what he can do because he speaks Spanish. Based on his observations of the case file he is absolutely convinced the boys are innocent and has started a fundraiser to help them. 

He tried to start a GoFundMe page but that was shut down almost out of the gate. He ran into the same problem I had trying to raise money for RCMP Cst. Kwesi Millington.  

It’s been six months since these two young cops have been held prisoner on that Communist Island. 

In Cuban law an investigation takes however long it takes and until it’s complete, there they will sit, unsure if they will face criminal charges. 

Where the Canadian government is in all of this is unknown. Certainly, the Global Affairs Minister and the Public Safety Minister have been informed, but there’s no sign they have done anything. 

On top of all that, the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner is saying they will face an investigation by their office should they be allowed to come back to Vancouver anytime soon.  The boys  said months ago they would not only welcome but encourage a fair and proper Canadian investigation they are certain will clear their names.

This whole thing stinks. At every level. I will keep tabs on this case and report as things proceed. 

-30-

Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

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Written by Leo Knight

September 7, 2018 at 7:49 am

Posted in Crime & Punishment

Tagged with , , , ,

29 Responses

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  1. Thank you

    Fact Beaver

    September 7, 2018 at 8:43 am

  2. Maybe Goodale can send them $10.5 for being in a prison in Cuba having their charter rights violated like Khadr? Goodale gives millions to murdering terrorists but not to cops?

    Have we closed the Cuban Embassy yet or seized their assets?

    This is an act of war after all what they are doing. The Cuban military is probably better equipped than ours thanks to JT and his dad.

    Leroy

    September 7, 2018 at 10:45 am

    • SANCTION THEM.

      How about the image of them flying our flag upside down. 52 Canadians are being held in cuba. Trump has brought Americans home from iran and Korea faster than this.

      Fact Beaver

      September 7, 2018 at 11:14 am

  3. Hi Leo, thanks for this piece.
    A lot was made about a month ago in the main stream media about these guy’s having been officially charged, or the claims against them substantiated somehow. I learned subsequently that none of this was true, yet not a hit of any retraction or correction from our local medial. Based on this, I would assume the average person now thinks these guy’s have been found guilty and are serving their time.

    Ron Injates

    September 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm

  4. This is certainly a very tragic set of events to have happened to these two young men. There certainly appears to be little (if any) evidence to support the charges. However, many Canadians insist on vacationing in places where there is no rule of law and/or places which have high levels of violence. Going to a communist country like Cuba or a country where there is a major drug war going on (Mexico) is not worth it, just to save a few bucks. You may pay more vacationing in Hawaii, but at least you are in a First World democracy if you get into criminal or medical trouble.

    RobInSanDiego

    September 7, 2018 at 5:21 pm

  5. Thank you Leo for updating all of us on this story. Like most people this had faded to the back of my mind. What an I justice.

    John Sheard

    September 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm

  6. Where the hell is our Foreign Affairs? Where is our Cuban Consulate? Where are their respective MP’s? This is worse than our ‘Legal’ system!
    A Minister from here has to go there to translate for their (obviously inept) Police that did a less than stellar job in investigating while these two lads virtually have to continue further into debt – without even being charged. Astounding!!! Where are the Police Association’s to at the very least WARN their fellow Members of the potential of situations like this happening in Cuba. We take on Saudi Arabia for a jailed Canadian protestor but these fellows are allowed to languish and the best we get from ANY Bureaucrat, is to say they’ll face an OPCC investigation on their return – whenever that is!

    Aren’t we from a Profession that’s supposed to follow the “Evidence”? Of which there seem so be an unsworn statement – period! Disgusting!

    Sealed my ever taking holidays in Cuba!

    Ian WHITTINGTON

    September 8, 2018 at 2:08 am

  7. Thank you for this important article! It’s about time!

    So, what we are dealing with here is not only the supreme injustice of a false accusation, but dangerous incompetence in the investigative process and flagrant human rights violations to add insult to injury.

    Where are the Canadian officials (government, Canadian police, OPCC…) in all of this and what are they doing to remedy this situation NOW!? How much longer will this be allowed to go on for?? The complainant is a fellow Canadian, so why on earth hasn’t she been investigated here yet? Or her friends? She has got off scot-free while these men, evidently innocent of any crime, perish. Sounds like what she experienced was a case of REGRET that her sexual fantasy didn’t play out as she hoped, but decided to call RAPE as a form of retribution. Disgusting. She should be held to account. She obviously did not hesitate to report this alleged crime to the authorities in a foreign country, so she should have no reason to decline to talk to investigators here unless she is afraid of due process!

    In my opinion, travelling to a country with a questionable legal system is like travelling to a country without buying health insurance. You’ll probably be ok, but if you are unfortunate enough to get caught up in a situation, you are in trouble, and yes, it could be YOU. The government should be doing more to warn Canadians against travel in such places!

    May Jessie

    September 8, 2018 at 10:12 am

  8. Thank you for finally getting their story out! it was an interesting read and it definitely hurts the heart that someone could be so cruel and use such a serious allegation to destroy someone else’s life. I have been trying to bring awareness in any way I can. Your articles have been a great source of help in doing so! Lets bring Mark and Jordan home!

    Alysha L

    September 11, 2018 at 9:41 pm

  9. Thank you Leo for bringing the truth to light in these dark moments. May the good word be spread around in hopes of helping these two.

    Sukhi

    September 18, 2018 at 11:16 am

  10. I would like to see our Canadian government step in and bring them home where a Canadian investigation can take place – then we will have justice! Cuba does not have anything on these men. Why is it they are only going off a statement from the alleged “victim” that is less than credible (with no evidence to prove any of the claim) while ignoring the actual facts? Let them go.

    Mel

    September 18, 2018 at 11:26 am

  11. Coming from someone who knows these two men personally.. this is an OUTRAGEOUS lie. It is such a shame that these two live in such horrible conditions and are at risk of losing their lives to something and someone who does deserve being locked up and losing theirs just for making up such an outrageous allegation against two outstanding men. The lack of evidence speaks for itself and one fabricated statement should not be enough to destroy two innocent mens lives.

    Anonymous

    September 18, 2018 at 11:41 am

  12. Sounds like the wrong person got to go home and perhaps that person should be doing some time instead of these two. Just a thought. Sounds like a set up to me.

    Jesse W

    September 18, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    • you’re saying something like this was planned?

      Anonymous

      September 18, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      • The girl just doesn’t seem right in the head judging by what I have read. Sounds like she probably would have done this to any guy, these two were just unfortunate enough to encounter her. She probably immediately regretted her actions and cried rape. Regret sex is often the basis for a false rape allegation!!

        Jesse W

        September 18, 2018 at 8:13 pm

  13. Is anyone going to release her name? I’d be interested to know who she is

    Brad Davidson

    September 18, 2018 at 8:40 pm

  14. Her friends know the truth. All too afraid to speak up probably.

    S

    September 19, 2018 at 4:29 pm

  15. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve heard much on this case. Do you know of any updates, Leo? Thanks for giving the other side of the story. Personal opinion.. sounds much like a set up to me. My thoughts are with them and their families.

    Allana Powell

    September 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

  16. Leo, any guess as to when the OPCC or other police officials may step in to assist or are they waiting for a decision to be made in Cuba and what good will it do for the guys then? Sad to hear they don’t support their own.

    Dan Baumberg

    September 20, 2018 at 10:21 pm

  17. So allegedly that woman wanted to have unprotected sex but Simms used a condom? Classy lady, right there. I hope that she can get over herself and her “heavyset build”. Come clean and apologize for this and maybe the jury will go easy on you.

    Linda Lee

    September 20, 2018 at 10:58 pm

  18. Being a parent myself, I have a pretty good idea of who my child is as an individual. While I might not always agree with their teenage antics, I know what my kid is and is not capable of. Her parents must have an idea that she fabricated this story? I’d assume given how quiet they seem about this that they probably don’t want to speak up. This could because they want to protect her, and any parent would. How does it not eat away at them by the fact that she has lied and now two innocent men may end up in prison? Given how confidently she approached the two men and her dialogue, it sounds like she is rather experienced in boozy and promiscuous antics.Whoever she was with on the trip failed to supervise her in which lead her to get into some trouble during one of the busiest and rowdiest weekends of the year (spring break). It leads me to wonder if her parents are completely blind to who she is as a person? I believe that embarrassment over her own actions and not wanting to come clean out of fear of being disciplined has lead her to continue a lie in hopes that it would all disappear eventually. Did the parents not notice the absence of bruises and other characteristics that would make it obvious she was harmed? The outcome of the physical tests seems to disprove any real resistance and roughness you would assume would have been present in a forceful assault.Since she has gotten to go home and there seems to be radio silence from what I have read on the case, my guess is she continued on with her life as normal as it was before her trip.. because there was no rape. Unfortunately for her and her family, an issue such as this is not just going to be swept under the rug. The truth will come out.

    Andrea Fowler

    September 23, 2018 at 4:50 pm

  19. When is the government going to step in and help them?

    Chris Russo

    September 24, 2018 at 3:33 pm

  20. This stupid girl needs to be put away and the boys need to be brought home! The canadian government needs to do something! Cuban government is so corrupt. This girl and.her family and friends should be ashamed of themselves

    Melissa

    October 16, 2018 at 1:06 pm

  21. I work with Jordan and he is an amazing person and cop. I am so upset and devostated that our government is doing nothing to bring them home.

    Ash

    October 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm

  22. This is ridiculous. Get someone there to help get them home !! Our government would rather bring Isis fighters here than get their own people home. GET THEM HOME !!

    Jane

    October 21, 2018 at 9:16 am

  23. Yeah right….two policemen and an underage girl….just being under age is a crime…lock them away. DO NOT USE TAX PAYERS MONEY TO BAIL THEM OUT. Would you care if it was two Canadian citizens on welfare. Let them rot in prison. Poor young girl…17 years old…a minor. Wow…two policemen and one minor.

    Dale You

    November 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    • Dale take your head out of your ass. By the way, is it “Dale” or is it “Dad”? Just curious. She wasn’t underage. She is of legal age in Cuba and Canada. Have you been following the case at all? The chick is 17 going on 35, 5’10 and roughly 200lbs, making crude remarks to random strangers at the ADULT pool about how she wants to get f*****. Sound like a poor young girl to you? Probably made her way through many guys already with a mouth like that, you learn it somewhere after all. The officers have been acquitted and not just from lack of evidence but from a witness that disproved her statement in full. She’s a complete headcase. Glad to see these men have been found not guilty. Now send the girl back to Cuba so she can be charged with perjury and locked up! Should send her family there too for perpetuating the lie. Can’t wait until they get outed.

      Alex

      November 16, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      • They should be sent home. Losing their careers is punishment enough.

        Robert Hill

        November 25, 2018 at 12:22 am

    • You re an idiot. You obviously haven’t been following the story.

      The Donger

      November 17, 2018 at 8:44 pm


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