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Harding suffered a hernia in prison, no evidence of sodomy

Guyana Prison Service sources Monday afternoon corroborated that Colwyn Harding suffered a hernia after jumping off a stairs in the prison compound where he had been incarcerated.

Harding has already told Demerara Waves Online News that he has never had hernia before. However, the symptoms he described were those of that condition. He has also said that he was ashamed to tell prison, police and the court about his alleged sexual abuse.

Sources said this revelation now throws into immense doubt claims by him, his mother, their lawyer and other interest groups about whether his intestinal condition was indeed due to sexual assault with a baton in November, 2013 at the Timehri Police Station.

The outcome of the probe, other sources said, was more leaning in the direction of alleged common assault by the policeman.

Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee has already said that the investigation has thrown up a number of “grey areas” but he has declined to say whether those have called into question the credibility of the allegation.

The time-line disclosed by GPHC doctors shows that Harding was was first diagnosed with a hernia on December 13, 2013 and referred to a clinic. Georgetown Prison authorities had taken back the then inmate to the Accident and Emergency Unit of GPHC at 10:35 PM on December 17 because he had complained of severe pains, an increased swelling to the area and vomiting. It was then that he was diagnosed with strangulated inguinal scrotal hernia. Emergency surgery was performed the following day. He underwent a second surgery on December 27.

Harding  has claimed that he was sodomized by a Constable who was based at the Timehri Police Station after he was arrested on November 15 at Timehri North in connection with a probe into stolen items. He had been in police custody until November 19 when he was charged with assaulting a peace officer and disorderly behaviour. After he was placed on GUY$50,000 bail he was remanded to prison. He has since been released on his own recognisance.

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) said its Office of Professional Responsibility has completed the investigation and legal advice has been sought.

“The Police Force is now in the process of seeking legal advice in the matter through the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” said police spokesman, Ivelaw Whittaker.

Deputy Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud declined to say whether he had seen the report. Instead, he maintained that the document would be sent to the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (CPA) for review before it is dispatched to the DPP for advice.

DemWaves has learnt that OPR investigators have taken statements from Harding, his mother, prison authorities, the doctors among others.