Vault broken into and drugs stolen from Magistrates Court old location; Public Works dragging feet on facility at Knuckleblock

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

REAL NEWS: Drugs allegedly have gone missing from the old St. John’s Magistrates Court building, and the Police have launched an investigation into their disappearance.

A contractor is now engaged in work at the High and Temple Streets location, and reports say he notified the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) that two padlocks on the vault had been damaged.

The offence reportedly occurred sometime between the mornings of October 8 and October 10, when some unknown person allegedly used a hard implement to pry off the padlocks.

The scene was processed for fingerprints; but, initially, the Police and the Supervisor at the Court were unable to say if anything had been stolen.

However, following detailed checks, it was discovered that drugs that had been tendered to the Court as exhibits in drug cases – and were being stored for destruction – had been removed from the vault.

Tools belonging to the contractor were also taken, it is alleged.

Reports say the Court’s Supervisor is the person in charge of the safe and the only person with keys and access.

A source tells REAL News that the Police obtained a search warrant on Wednesday, October 12, to search the homes of two men who are working on the building.

Meanwhile, the source claims that since the Court was relocated to the community centre at Knuckle Block – where there is no secure room to store exhibits and other evidence – a request was made for a container in which to store them at the new premises.

According to the source, the former Director of Public Works, Lucine Hanley, provided the container in short order.   However, since he is no longer on the job, the retrofitting work has been dragged out.

Although the container is on site, only the air-conditioning units have been put in place. The unit still requires the building of shelves and the connection of electricity – all of which, the source says, is taking too long to complete.

It was noted that since Hanley left the Ministry, Court officials cannot get anything done in a timely manner.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP