Fri | Mar 22, 2019

Cops lose appeal in INDECOM ruling

Published:Tuesday | February 19, 2019 | 12:11 AM

The Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of eight former members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) who were found guilty on July 28, 2014 of failing to comply with a requirement of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) without lawful justification or excuse.

Gerville Williams, Kenneth Daley, Francis Rennals, David Hutchinson, Devon Noble, Marcel Dixon, Petro Green and now-deceased Orrett Williamson were sentenced by then Parish Court Judge Georgiana Fraser to serve six months behind bars or to each pay a fine of $650,000.

Despite paying the fine, the cops moved to mount an appeal against their conviction and sentences.

A recent ruling handed down by appeal court Justices Patrick Brooks, Almarie Sinclair-Haynes and Paulette Williams said the learned Parish Court judge conducted a careful analysis of the evidence and the issues involved in the case. Subsequently, it stated that she arrived at a conclusion that was consistent with the evidence.

It also stated the verdict should not be disturbed and the sentence imposed on each of the appellants could not be said to be manifestly excessive.

The appellants argued that the verdict was unfair as the trial judge did not give sufficient regard to their constitutional right to counsel. It was argued that if they had attended the video identification unit (VDU), they would have been deprived of that right.

They also argued that the sentence from the Parish Court judge was unreasonably harsh in light of the evidence adduced.

Charges were laid against the former cops after they failed to obey a notice issued by INDECOM for them attend at the VDU on September 14, 2010 to provide the oversight body with a statement.

They were also to answer questions relating to occurrences in the vicinity of Tredegar Park, Lauriston, Brooklyn and Spanish Town, in the parish of St Catherine, between August 12 and 13, 2010, including the circumstances that led to the death of Derrick Bolton and Rohan Dixon.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com