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Lawyers to make submissions in 'Livity' case

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator - Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 05, 2014    

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THE evidential phase of the challenge brought by Leighton 'Livity' Coke, the brother of former Tivoli Gardens don Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, over the legality of soldiers manning sections of Horizon Adult Remand Centre on Spanish Town Road, Kingston concluded in the Supreme Court yesterday.

The attorneys in the matter are now to make written submissions on April 2.

Coke — who had been an inmate at Horizon shortly after the Tivoli Gardens operation of 2010, to apprehend his brother and subdue gunmen, until 2012 when he was acquitted of gun-related charges — had argued that it's illegal for Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers to man the facility without the consent of the Defence Board or the prime minister.

The action forms part of a suit filed by Coke seeking compensation for allegedly being beaten and injured at the hands of soldiers in February 2012 in the maximum security facility. He was being held on allegations that he had fired at members of the security forces but was freed last year in the High Court Division of the Gun Court.

Named as defendants in the suit filed by attorneys Carolyn Reid-Cameron and Chukwuemeka Cameron are the commissioner of corrections, the chief of defence staff, the Ministry of National Security and the attorney general.

Coke sought several declarations, including that on a "true and proper interpretation of sections 5 and 9 of the Defence Act", the chief of defence staff does not have the power to deploy members of the JDF to aid in the manning of the remand centre in question without the direction of the Defence Board or the prime minister; that in doing so the chief of defence staff acted ultra vires; that the commissioner of corrections acted ultra vires and was in breach of section 5 of the Defence Act when he appointed members of the JDF as authorised persons to act as correctional officers at the facility.

Coke also asked the court for an award for "vindicatory damages to reflect the sense of public outrage, emphasise the importance of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or to inhumane and degrading treatment and to deter further breaches".

The claimant also asked for an award of compensation for the "distress, pain and suffering..." over his period of incarceration "flowing from the torture and inhumane treatment meted out by the respondents".

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