Categorized | National News

Former Cop Gets 10 Years

Convicted former Police Corporal Donovan Gardiner will spend the next decade at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) after being sentenced for the death of Desmond Key.

Supreme Court Justice Vera Watkins handed down the sentence on Friday.

In March, Gardiner was convicted of manslaughter for Key’s death in 2008.

His sentence will run from his conviction date, March 2.

The 39-year-old beat Key with a baseball bat while he was in custody at the Grove Police Station in 2007.

Key died from those injuries seven months later.

In the six-page judgment, Watkins said she had to take note of several aggravating factors.

“I note that as the officer-in-charge of the shift, Gardiner had a duty to protect the victim who was entrusted in his custody and care on the evening of the incident,” she said.

“It was apparent to all of the witnesses who came into contact and the opportunity to observe the victim that he may have been intoxicated. In this regard, Gardiner ought to have treated the victim as an inmate who needed special attention and one who was likely to act irrationally.”

Justice Watkins added that after hitting Key with the baseball bat, Gardiner failed to check him to see whether he required assistance.

She added that other aggravating factors also included that there was loss of life and that Gardiner expressed no remorse.

“I have also noted that the evidence suggests that the victim may have been under the influence of alcohol and he was in the custody and care of the police at the time of the incident,” Justice Watkins said.

“It is reasonable to conclude that if the victim was intoxicated then his powers of reasoning may have been impaired. As an experienced police officer, this ought to have been an indication to Gardiner that there was a possibility of unusual or abnormal behaviour on the part of the victim and that the victim ought to be treated with particular care.”

Key’s mother, Christine wept openly in court as Justice Watkins gave her decision.

Following the adjournment, she said she was happy that her family could finally close the “chapter” on her son’s life.

“I’m so happy and grateful because Father’s Day has come and gone and that was when the original incident happened,” she said as she wept openly for her son.

“It’s painful to replay those memories over again.”

Ms. Key had Desmond’s youngest child, five-year-old Shyann, with her. She said the little girl does not remember her father.

“She doesn’t know what’s going on,” Ms. Key explained.

“She was eight months when he died, but she doesn’t know how he died. When she gets older, we will explain to her. We will have to explain this to all of his children, but this day is a relief and he will always be in our thoughts. His children will always be a reminder of him for us. At least he has to spend some time in jail for what he did to my son.”

She said Gardiner could have received more years in jail but said she is satisfied with the 10-year sentence.

“This can’t bring Desmond back, but at least he will spend time in prison,” Desmond’s mother said.

Wayne Munroe, Gardiner’s attorney, said it is too early to determine whether there will be an appeal.

“The matter is finished at this stage,” he said. “We will have to look at the decision the judge gave, which to her credit she put in writing, so we can go back and we can look at the reasons.”

“We will advise Gardiner further and take his instructions. I will go through the material . . . and then we will advise and the client will decide whether he wants to appeal.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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