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Policemen kept in lock-up until June 3

Covering the courts

Sunday, April 06, 2014    

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THREE Clarendon policemen who have been accused of being a part of a "death squad" that murdered civilians were denied bail when they appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court last week.

Detective Corporal Kevin Adams, Constables Carl Bucknor and Jerome Whyte are accused of the murders of four men including Adif Washington, who was shot dead while he was being treated at the May Pen Hospital in January.

Adams is charged with the murder of Washington, who was reportedly shot by police in Milk River, Clarendon and was taken to the hospital for treatment before he was later killed by a masked man who invaded the hospital and shot him.

Adams is also charged with the February 13, 2012 murder of Anthony Trough; Andrew Bisson, who was killed on September 5, 2011 and Sylvester Gallimore, who was murdered on May 5, 2011, while Bucknor and Whyte are also charged with the murder of Bisson and Trough murder.

On Thursday, attorneys Queen's Counsel Churchill Neita and Valerie Neita-Robertson both denied the allegations against the men and argued that the complainants, with the exception of Washington, were killed during police operations.

Neita, who is representing Whyte and Bucknor, asked the court to consider granting them bail despite the seriousness of the allegations and what has been reported in the media.

The lawyers told Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey to take into consideration the fact that their clients were of good character.

Neita-Robertson, who is representing Whyte, also told the court that her client had an unblemished record before the matter and was never mentioned or investigated in any police shootings.

She said that he had served the constabulary for 15 years and had received many awards including medals for gallantry.

The lawyer also refuted arguments by the prosecution that her client was a flight risk.

She argued that her client, who had been vacationing in the United States, voluntarily turned himself in when he heard that he was wanted in connection with the incident.

The attorney also lambasted the media, noting that the reports are contrary to the facts.

"The media reports are very damaging to my client," she said. "Too often these matters are tried in the media and that is not what the justice system is about."

However, the magistrate in addressing the lawyers, said that the cops' character would not factor in them getting bail, as the police are expected to be of good character.

She also brushed aside Neita-Robertson's argument that her client had surrendered on his own will to the Jamaican authorities.

RM Pusey said that the officer had no choice but to surrender, since he did not have the option of walking away when he was held by the immigration officers in the United States.

Head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) Terrence Williams, however, opposed bail applications on the grounds that the policemen had interfered with the witnesses.

He said that Washington was a potential witness in a case of police shooting and was prevented from giving his evidence.

Williams said that ballistic reports have confirmed that the bullet that was found under Washington's bed in the hospital came from Adams's service firearm.

In addition, Williams told the court that the officer, following the shootings, had made a statement, which was intimidating to witnesses and had caused them to be in fear.

As it related to Adams being a flight risk, he said that the officer had not returned to the island or to his job on the date that he was scheduled to, and also that he asked a friend to hand in his service pistol while he was overseas.

"No conditions can be put in place to manage the risk in regards to the men," Williams said.

Senior Magistrate Pusey later rejected the applications, stating that she could not exercise her discretion with regard to bail in light of

the concerns of witness-tampering.

The cops were remanded into custody until June 3.

Speedy motor car thief awaits sentence

A man who was among a group of four men, who were reportedly caught scrapping a motor vehicle less than an hour after it was stolen, was remanded in custody for sentencing after he pleaded guilty to larceny of motor car.

The men were reportedly held on March 18 inside secured premises on Cling Cling Avenue in Kingston, scrapping a Toyota Hiace minivan, less than an hour after it was reported stolen from the Inland Revenue Department in Cross Roads, Kingston.

The man, who was identified as Wordsword Gordon, initially denied the charge, claiming that he was only guilty of having the car in his possession.

"I did not steal it," he said.

But RM Pusey told him that she would not accept anything other than a plea to the larceny charge.

The magistrate then requested a copy of his records and remanded him for sentencing on April 16.

Meanwhile, Gordon's three co-accused, Sheldon Richards, O'Neil and Ramon Wallace all denied the charges.

Attorney Patrick Peterkin told the court that his clients did not know anything about the incident.

The lawyer then indicated that he wanted to make a bail application for the men, but the magistrate said that he would have to reschedule.

"The man dem get caught in the act less than an hour after the car was stolen," she said.

The three accused men were then remanded into custody until April 16.

Too much TV

An accused man, who denied robbing a man of his cellular phone, claiming he was the one who was robbed, was told by the magistrate that he watched "too much TV".

David Grant is accused, along with another man, of holding up a man with a knife and robbing him of his iPhone on Orange Street in downtown Kingston.

Grant was, however, chased by the complainant and, while making his escape, ran into a man whom he thought had a gun.

It is reported that the accused, in an attempt to escape the man, raced back into the direction of the complainant, who tripped him and took back his phone.

The complainant, with the help of the man, took the accused to the police station.

Grant was then charged with robbery with aggravation, but on Thursday he denied the charge.

"I was the one who got robbed," Grant said, surprising the court.

He said that he was coming from a nightclub when he saw between four and five men on the street, who grabbed him.

"Same time me get a slap inna me face long time and me say wha dis fa and dem say 'gimme you phone' and tek way me phone and me $3,000," he said.

Grant said that a team of officers was passing by and when the men saw the cops they started shouting out 'thief, thief'.

He said that the officers then held onto him, even though he told them that he was the victim.

"You watch too much television," "Pusey remarked.

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