Tuesday 28 January, 2020

Concerns raised about murder accused who worked as school ‘security’

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison, has expressed concern that a man who was last week convicted of murder, was employed as a security guard at Eltham High School in St Catherine while he was out on bail.

In particular, Gordon-Harrison has suggested that the necessary due diligence was apparently not done to ascertain the suitability of the man to work with children.

The school was seemingly not aware that Roland Bornstorph, who was charged with the December 31, 2014 stabbing death of Kenroy Smith, was out on bail during the time he was employed at the institution. Neither did the school know that he had recently been convicted and is to be sentenced on May 3.

When Loop News called the school on Thursday, the secretary said Bornstorph was not at work. When asked about the last time he had reported for work, the secretary said he had not been seen since last week.

She expressed shock when she was told that Bornstorph was now convicted of murder, and that he had been out on bail for a number of years.

The secretary promised to have the Acting Principal at the school, Gregory Allen, return the call to Loop News, but he is yet to do so.

For the children’s advocate, the revelation is troubling.

Gordon-Harrison explained that the Childcare and Protection Act provides that if there is any person who has been charged with a particular offence, including sexual offences, cruelty to a child, or murder, that if such a person is in the same household as the child, “that’s (a) basis to say the child is in unacceptable and inappropriate circumstances or environment.”

She said “If you were to extend that principle to this situation, where somebody is employed in a school, who was on bail for a serious offence, that of murder, it begs the question of whether we are going to be proactive in the protection of our children, whether we make certain checks, and in fact do certain background due diligence on persons who we are going to be employing within the realm of a school.”

Gordon-Harrison added that, “From a proactive and overly protective kind of viewpoint… which I think is particularly justified in the climate of Jamaica right now, my concern is not just with this particular school, but sometimes schools in general are not doing a thorough due diligence, extreme background checks, to see who are the persons that we are bringing into our space, who are going to be exposed to children.”

She said while she accepts that persons have a right to earn, “when it comes on to earning that living and interfacing with children who could potentially be exposed to inappropriate circumstances, then I think in this instance there’s justifiable cause for concern.”

Bornstorph, 57, was found guilty of murder in the Home Circuit Court. The court was told that during an altercation in the bus park at Darling Street in downtown Kingston, he stabbed Smith three times, twice in the chest.

Evidence was given by an off-duty policeman that he had earlier broken up a dispute between the two men - both bus conductors - over passengers. They worked on separate buses that plied the downtown Kingston to Ocho Rios, St Ann route.

The off-duty sergeant told the court that he reprimanded Bornstorph, and told him to board his bus and leave the bus park. However, within only a minute, a loud commotion was heard in the area where Smith had been taken by other passengers.

The sergeant testified that he saw the two men tussling, and as he approached them, Smith released his hold on Bornstorph and raised both hands in the air.

The policeman testified that it was at that point that he saw Bornstorph stab Smith twice in the region of the chest.

Smith was later pronounced dead at hospital.

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