01/13/2012 05:06 EST | Updated 03/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Oscar Bartholomew Death: Grenada Police Accused In Death Of Toronto Man Get Bail


ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada - At least two of the five police officers charged with beating a Toronto man to death in Grenada have been released on bail.

The lawyers for Ruddy Felix and Edward Gibson confirmed their clients met the bail requirements laid out in court a week ago.

The officers are charged with manslaughter in the death of 39-year-old Oscar Bartholomew.

Prosecutors allege police beat Bartholomew, 39, to death on Boxing Day after an altercation that began when he bear-hugged a policewoman he mistook for a friend.

The lawyer for the other three men — Shaun Ganness, Kenton Hazzard and Wendell Sylvester — would not speak to the media Friday about whether his clients had been released.

The conditions for bail included a cash payment of 100,000 eastern Caribbean dollars (about C$38,000) each, plus two property deeds valued in excess of 100,000 eastern Caribbean dollars.

The five accused men and their lawyers appeared before Magistrate Nevlyn John in St. David's on Friday.

The officers, who face 15 years in prison if convicted, have yet to enter a plea and none of the allegations have been tested in court.

The case has stunned this island nation community of 110,000 and sparked protests over alleged systemic police brutality.

A small crowd of curious onlookers gathered at the court Friday but the accused men were kept away from the public as they were brought to court early in the morning and were kept inside until the people had dispersed. Unlike previous court appearances for the men, there were no protests or police barricades.

In addition to the financial conditions of their bail, the accused officers must surrender all travel documents. They are also required to present themselves to any police station, except the St. David's detachment, at least once a week.

They were also told that they are not to contact or intimidate any of the witnesses, directly or through an agent, and their photographs and details will be sent to regional and international police agencies and embassies.

Lawyer Anslem Clouden, who represents Felix, said he was confident that the officers would respect the conditions.

"They, being police officers, are trained in the law and I have no doubt that they would adhere to the conditions as set by the magistrate," Clouden said.

Prosecutor Christopher Nelson, who argued last week that granting bail to the accused could lead to possible civil unrest and vigilantism, said he respects the court's decision.

"Several conditions have been attached to bail to ensure that the accused persons do not abscond, that they turn up to the trial and to ensure that law and order is maintained," Nelson said.

The accused officers are scheduled to make another court appearance Jan. 27.

Bartholomew was buried at a huge funeral on Monday.