Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Cops in Cuba cleared by courts but still not free to leave

with 5 comments

I have learned in my life to expect very little from our government. And I always get less than I expect. 

The two Vancouver area cops being held hostage in Cuba have received exactly that from our federal government – nothing. There has been no attempted intervention with the Cuban government. They have said they are monitoring the situation and that’s about it. Oh, and they let the boys make phone calls from our Consulate in Matanzas to their family. 

They went on trial in late October after being held in Cuba on dubious allegations of a sex assault by a less than credible complainant. The trial was held before a panel of five judges, two of which were lay persons. I should add that all five were female. In these days of “Me Too” and “believe all women” this is important. 

The complainant, a precocious 17-yr-old from Barrie, Ontario chose not to appear for trial to give evidence. She was invited by the Cuban government and that request was relayed via the Canadian government. But, no. She did not attend for whatever reason.

Most likely she didn’t want to subject herself to cross examination lest she be proved the liar she is.

To be clear, she initiated a sexual encounter with one of the police officers. It was consensual. The other officer stayed on the balcony as nature took its course. She tried to engage him in the activities not once, but twice and twice he rebuffed her. 

Well, hell hath no fury as a wise man once said, to quote former Vancouver Homicide Detective Bob Cooper.  

She left the room and returned to hers in the same resort. She was even seen by a hotel security officer in the packed resort hotel. He testified at the trial that she seemed normal, not drunk, not upset, just normal. 

That’s an important fact in this whole thing. Follow along. 

In law, when considering sex assault allegations, there is something called the Doctrine of Recent Complaint. In essence, if the first person the victim comes in contact with following a sexual assault is told of the assault it adds credibility to the allegation.

Well, that didn’t happen in this case. She said nothing to the hotel security guard nor anyone else in a very busy resort hotel. Not a word and according to the evidence to the security officer she looked normal. Not upset. Not drunk. Nothing out of the ordinary.

So, how’d this thing get started? When she got back to her room she was asked by a friend where she had been and she then and only then came up with her nonsensical story. The friend  contacted security staff who then called police.  By then the complainant was stuck. In for a penny, in for a pound I suppose.

The prosecution’s theory is that she was too drunk to consent. Yet, in the investigation no one took a blood sample from her until two days later. It yielded a result of .120 which said she had been drinking in the days since the alleged event but nothing more. It was evidence of absolutely nothing except the girl liked drinking while on holiday with her friends. While she was doing that, the two cops she accused of sexual assault were in a Cuban jail. 

I should also add in all of this, the friend who was the first person told of the allegation, was never interviewed by Cuban police. 

So, the only evidence against the two police officers was a statement given to a Cuban police officer on the night in question that was never tested by a cross-examination. And the alleged “victim” declined to return and provide evidence. 

The five female judges heard the evidence and returned a verdict of not guilty. But that is not the end of the matter. There is still an appeal period where the prosecution or the complainant can say they are not satisfied and file an appeal. It is not clear under Cuban law whether the appeal has to be a question of law as it does in most Western democracies. Whether or not the complainant was drunk is a finding of fact and the court found that she was not and her allegations were not to be believed. Yet, the Cuban government still holds the two officers hostage to a system that no one seems to understand. 

When contacted, the boys’ family had this to say: “We are grateful that the judges ruled that the evidence, both scientific and physical, did not corroborate the accusations. In fact, all of the evidence undermined the credibility of the accuser’s statement in numerous important ways. The substance of what the accuser said was directly and absolutely contradicted by the evidence.”

This is important because the Cuban system of justice, such as it is, does not have a presumption of innocence. Quite the opposite in fact. An accused must prove their innocence. The court agreed there was nothing to the allegations. 

But, unfortunately, the two officers are still being held hostage. It’s hard for me to see how any appeal could succeed, but there it is. We still wait for the two officers to be allowed to leave their paradise prison. 

We also wait for the Canadian government to do something, anything to help two serving police officers held by Cuba and not being allowed to serve the citizens of Canada. As I said earlier, I expect little from government and God knows these two officers have gotten less than that. 

-30-

Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

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Written by Leo Knight

November 17, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Crime & Punishment

5 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the update Leo….. good news …. just need to have more good news.
    I wonder if it was reported that these two police officers were Muslim radicals if Trudeau would jump on a plane and swish into Cuba to save them?

    I know it’s a bit of an off comment…. but it seems that is all he cares about.
    The entire Federal Goverment needs to be torched on the mishandling of this life altering event for these two guys.

    Doug Bain

    November 17, 2018 at 9:23 pm

  2. Thanks Leo for this! I would say that I’m astounded by the total LACK of involvement or assistance by our [Canadian] Foreign Affairs, but when it comes to either supporting or standing up for actual Canadian Citizens – our Government is sorely missing in action. This further supports my attitude in the abysmal record by this Liberal Government. SHAMEFUL!

    Ian Whittington

    November 18, 2018 at 6:54 pm

  3. Read this article Leo, there may be a clue about the Canadian Govt. lack of involvement in assisting the Canadian officers.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-canadas-brain-injured-cuba-diplomats-speak-out-about-ottawas-silence/

    D.V.

    November 19, 2018 at 1:20 am

  4. It may be wise for 30 year old police officers to avoid having sex with teenage girls.

    Robert Hill

    November 23, 2018 at 2:52 am

  5. Justin needs to get his head out of his ASS.

    Tony Hanlon

    November 24, 2018 at 8:21 am


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