Mark Hernandez

Mark Bassant

The head of the Special Operations Response Team(SORT) Inspector Mark Hernandez was detained for questioning into the deaths of murder suspects Joel Balcon and Andrew “Solo” Morris early this morning.

Sources close to the investigation told Guardian Media Hernandez was not arrested but was asked to come in and be interviewed in the ongoing investigations in which several SORT officers have already been questioned and later released.

Hernandez was first taken to the Maloney Police Station and later to the Pinto Police Station where he was being questioned in the presence of his attorney by officers of the Professional Standards Bureau(PSB). Guardian Media understands that Hernandez is being represented by criminal attorney John Heath.

Close to 20 officers from the unit which comprises both police and Defence Force personnel have been interviewed over the last week and later released.

Balcon and Morris were prime suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Arima court clerk Andrea Bharatt on January 29.

Within hours of Bharatt’s disappearance, Morris and Balcon were picked up by a team of SORT and Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU) officers.

However, Morris subsequently died at the hospital on February 1, while Balcon succumbed to injuries he allegedly sustained while in police custody on February 8.

Inspector Hernandez has been short-listed for one of three posts of Deputy Commissioner of Police(DCP) and his nomination is yet to be debated in Parliament.

Senior police sources say apart from the charge of murder the officers could face other charges, which include assault occasioning actual bodily harm, misbehaviour in public office and perverting the course of justice.