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Attorney says Cuban medical records still not turned over

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 10, 2013

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The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) officer prosecuting a case against five marines accused of abusing a group of Cuban detainees has asked the defense to resume the matter without the detainees’ medical records, their attorney Wayne Munroe said yesterday.

Munroe said he requested the records and other information relevant to the case during the first hearing into the matter on September 30.

“I told them I would not start without it,” Munroe said. “How do you make a determination to listen about injuries if there is no medical report?”

Munroe said the officer contacted his office either last week or early this week with the proposal.

“It’s very important to see exactly what the medical material says,” he said.

The five marines were charged with causing harm and causing a wound under care, Munroe said.

They were charged during a disciplinary hearing at the RBDF base at Coral Harbour on September 30.

The hearing also proceeded without the presence of the three independent observers promised by Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage, Munroe said.

The observers were appointed a few days later.

Retired Justice Cheryl Albury, former RBDF Commander Leon L. Smith and Bahamas Christian Council President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson were appointed to sit in on the hearings.

Munroe said the hearing was adjourned after he asked for more information concerning the case, including the Cuban detainees’ medical records.

At the time he said he was confident that the prosecution was taking steps to get the information he needed.

The men are accused of abusing Cuban detainees after some of them attempted to escape from the facility four months ago.

The allegations have set off a firestorm of controversy and protests from a group of Miami-based protestors who labeled the incident as an “abuse of power”.

Munroe said his clients deny the allegations.

An RBDF officer, who is also a lawyer, is prosecuting the matter.

Munroe said the hearings will resume once he has had the opportunity to review the files that he requested.

The disciplinary hearings are not criminal in nature.

Munroe said the marines could face a hold on their pay, a reduction in rank or other disciplinary actions that would be placed on their record.

The marines remain on active duty, Munroe said.

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