Man imprisoned without trial for over 20 years freed

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Man imprisoned without trial for over 20 years freed

Friday, July 10, 2020

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ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica— One week after being granted bail, Abraham Lawrence, the mentally ill man who was imprisoned for over 20 years, this morning walked out of the St Elizabeth parish court a free man.

Forty-nine-year-old Lawrencewas admitted into the custody of the Department of Correctional Services in 1999 after he was arrested in relation to an altercation where he allegedly threw stones at a group of men in Huntley Castle district, St Elizabeth. A police service vehicle was damaged during the altercation.

He was declared unfit to plead and remained imprisoned until a week ago when he appeared in the St Elizabeth parish court in Black River, where he was granted bail and released into the care of his family.

Senior parish court judge Ann-Marie Grangerat 10:07 am freed Lawrence after reviewing reports from a psychiatrist and probation officer which indicated that “he is not fit to plead.”

“It was a good report…. he [Lawrence] needs to follow up with the doctor. Take him to the hospital or see a private doctor,” Granger told Lawrence's brother who was present in court.

She also instructed that the probation officer is to visit Lawrence regularly at home.

“I feel 100 per cent. I feel good… It is a great moment to have him [at home] after he was incarcerated, so I feel happy,” said Llewelyn Lawrence shortly after his brother's [Abraham's] release.

—Kasey Williams

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