A pair of Metro Vancouver police officers detained in Cuba for nearly 10 months have returned home.
Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Const. Mark Simms and Port Moody Police Department (PMPD) Const. Jordan Long were acquitted in November on allegations of sexual assault.
However, Cuban prosecutors appealed that ruling, leaving the officers’ fate in limbo.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Simms and Long families said that the appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of Cuba, and that the unanimous verdict by the lower court was upheld.
“It is with great joy that we announce the return of Mark and Jordan to Canadian soil,” the families wrote.
“These innocent victims of a malevolent lie are, at long last, home with their families. This last step happened unexpectedly quickly. Words cannot express our profound gratitude for all the support you have given us in so many different ways.”
Vancouver police confirmed Saturday that its officer “is back home” and said that the officer and his family were asking for privacy.
Simms and Long had been vacationing in Varadero on March 14, 2018 when the incident that sparked the ordeal was alleged to have occurred.
Simms was accused of engaging in sexual activity with a 17-year-old girl from Ontario who had also been vacationing in the resort town.
The family of the alleged victim, who is now 18, said she was staying at a resort as a part of a graduation trip, and that she phoned home in tears to say she had been assaulted.
Simms was investigated on a sexual assault allegation, while Long was held as a material witness to the alleged crime.
Supporters, including Simms’ sister and his reverend, who travelled to Cuba, had consistently maintained the men were innocent and pointed to a lack of evidence and problems with the Cuban justice system — including a lack of language services for the two men, who do not speak Spanish.
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