Irwin Hackshaw

Assistant Commissioner of Police: Irwin Hackshaw.

—Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

THE Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is yet to receive the file on the criminal probe into suspicious bank accounts belonging to Assistant Commissioner of Police Irwin Hackshaw.

Hackshaw, who a few weeks ago held the rank of acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, is back to his substantive post of Assistant Commissioner.

He is scheduled to retire from the Police Service in September.

He was acting Commissioner of Police for two weeks in March in the absence of Commissioner Gary Griffith.

On May 28, the police announced they had closed the investigation into Hackshaw and they had found no evidence of criminal conduct.

The Sunday Express understands that no senior personnel from the DPP’s Office were consulted on the Hackshaw matter and the decision to close the case came following legal advice from the TTPS legal department, which is headed by Christian Chandler.

In addition, the Sunday Express understands that Departmental Order #80, which was signed off by Commissioner Griffith on April 17, 2019, is a matter of concern for several investigating officers and senior DPP personnel as the order addresses the “Establishment and Re-Organisation of the Legal Unit” and outlines the line of communication when seeking legal advice of matters under investigation.

Paragraph 6 (2) under the heading “Communication” states, “Legal Officers, Police Officers and Investigators shall liaise with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions whenever and wherever so required, but, SHALL NOT submit files, reports, and correspondences directly to the Director of Public Prosecutions without first submitting same to the Director of Legal for his subsequent approval.”

Essentially, this means that Chandler, who was Griffith’s personal attorney before joining the Police Service, has the final say on whether police officers can approach the DPP’s office with files for investigations.

PCA making progress

On June 8 at a news conference in Port of Spain, Griffith said a decision was made to send the Hackshaw file to the DPP to ensure complete transparency in the Police Service and their investigations.

The Commissioner said this was also being done for the benefit of Hackshaw, as some people “want to play prosecutor and even jury to state that what happened is contrary to what was investigated”.

Hackshaw, who is currently under investigation by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) into suspicious deposits of close to $2 million in his personal bank accounts received from several businesses, is scheduled to officially retire from the Service in September.

There were more than 180 deposits amounting to $1.8 million spread over 18 RBC Royal Bank accounts, with more deposited into an account at Scotiabank and the Unit Trust Corporation.

Additionally, at the June 8 news conference, Griffith stated he found it interesting, “when persons automatically try to label a police officer because that person may have $2 million in their account. I am not here to judge, I am here to work on evidence...It means that a police officer must be poor apparently in the eyes of some people. So if I am a police officer and I join the Police Service at 18 years and I take a loan $500,000 and I put it to buy some land and 25 years I let it run and then I decide to sell my land at $5 million...he is corrupt, that is where we have reached to now...”

Contacted yesterday, Director of the PCA David West said its investigation “is making progress”.

Asked whether Hackshaw was interviewed, West said: “Not yet.”

Background

The investigation into Hackshaw and his accounts commenced last year within the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) but was stalled following the transfer of officers from within the unit.

Following Sunday Express reports in March, officers of the Financial Investigations Branch (FIB) of the TTPS led by Supt Wendell Lucas raided the Independence Square, Port of Spain office of this newspaper to find the source of the information.

The officers indicated they were in possession of a warrant and searched the office of the Editor-in-Chief on March 11, leaving with several flash drives.

Subsequent to the search, the Express filed an injunction.

The courts granted the injunction barring the officers from further searches to acquire information from the company’s servers, pending the outcome of the court matter scheduled for July 13.

An intelligence report was submitted to the FIB by the Financial Intelligence Unit for investigation, since the latter does not have investigative powers.

The report remained within the confines of the FIB for months and was subsequently passed to the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) sometime last year, where an investigation commenced.

This investigation, and another high-profile one were near completion when several officers were transferred from within the unit.

The file containing the status of the investigation was submitted to the executive of the TTPS sometime last year, thereby halting the investigation into Hackshaw.

On March 4, the Sunday Express contacted Hackshaw seeking a comment before publication of the story headlined “Cop in $2m Cheque Query”.

He stated, “Well if you want to print whatever you want dearie, you can. But just be mindful there are repercussions to those...”

Hackshaw has since issued a pre-action protocol letter to the Express.

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