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...Wants Gov't to cover cost of Mario Dean's burial, independent pathologist

Tuesday, August 12, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Opposition spokesman on National Security Derrick Smith has called on the Government to cover the full cost of the funeral for Mario Deane, who died last week while in police custody.

"We are also calling on the Government to cover the full cost of an independent pathologist to observe the post- mortem on behalf of the family," added Smith, who was speaking yesterday at a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) press conference at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay.

He said the Opposition JLP also wants the State to "give full compensation" to Deane's family for the death of their member.

"We are asking for full compensation considering this was a very young man, just 31 years old, who had lots of his productive years ahead of him," he argued.

Deane, a construction worker, was arrested by cops for possession of a ganja spliff last week Sunday in his Rosemount, St James, community and subsequently detained at the Barnett Street Police Station.

While in custody at the station, the Rosemount resident was beaten by inmates, the police said.

Deane was later transferred to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

His relatives, however, have disputed the police's version of the incident.

Deane's death sparked public outrage and calls from several parliamentarians, including National Security Minister Peter Bunting, Justice Minister Mark Golding, and the JLP, for an immediate end to arrest of persons caught with a small amount of ganja.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has since launched a probe into the controversial incident.

Yesterday, Smith told reporters that the incident vividly highlights the failure of the police and by extension the State to provide protection for those under its care, as he called for an immediate review of "certain operations" at police stations.

He emphasised, too, that the Opposition is demanding that the facts surrounding the incident come to light.

"We are not here accusing the police of anything. We do not know. But we do hope that the investigations being carried out by INDECOM, and from the one that we are demanding from the Police High Command, will bring out the truth," he argued.

— Mark Cummings

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