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Two Clarendon cops in death squad probe get bail

Tuesday, June 24, 2014    

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TWO of 11 Clarendon police officers implicated in the reported murder of several civilians in the parish were yesterday offered bail.

The men are District Constable Howard Brown and Constable Peter Samuels.

Brown was offered $7-million bail following an in-chambers application in the Supreme Court.

Samuels was offered bail in the sum of $1.5 million in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court following an application by attorney Peter Champagnie. The bail offers were met with applause from colleagues and family members of the policemen.

The offers were made on a day that was supposed to have seen preliminary enquiries into the killings for which the 11 cops — some of whom have been charged jointly and at least two for multiple deaths — have been implicated.

But, instead of preliminary enquiries, the matters were put off until further dates to facilitate the completion of the files and for bail applications.

Additionally, the cases against four policemen were transferred to the Home Circuit Court, in a move by the prosecution to avoid a preliminary enquiry before trial.

The cops whose cases were transferred to the Home Circuit Court are Sergeant Leeford Gordon and constables Romaine Del La Hay, Damon Robinson and Collis 'Chuckie' Brown. Brown is charged separately from the three and is facing three counts of murder.

The court was told that the case files are incomplete as the ballistic report and a statement are still outstanding. Brown was given a July 16 return date for a bail application to be made on his behalf, and then on July 25 to assess the status of the file. The other three are also to return to court on July 25 for the same reason. The three were readmitted to their $1.5-million bail, offered in chambers previously.

The men are represented by Queen's Counsel K Churchill Neita, Valerie Neita-Robertson, Norman Godfrey, Dwight Reece, Oshane Cousins, and Andrew Wildes.

The 11 policemen were arrested earlier this year as the Independent Commission of Investigations probed allegations of death squads in the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The killings were originally reported as homicides. However, their arrests were met with protests by Clarendon residents.

Yesterday, in applying for bail for Samuels, Champagnie told the court that his client fired at Sylvester Gallimore on May 5, 2011 because Gallimore pointed a gun at the police. He said a witness gave a statement in which she said that Gallimore had a gun and then four months later gave a further statement in which she said that the Gallimore never had a gun.

DC Howard Brown is charged with the shooting death of Andrew Bissoon in September 2011.

The other policemen who appeared in court yesterday are Detective Corporal Kevin Adams, who is charged with four counts of murder; Sergeant Mario Taylor; and constables Carl Bucknor, Jerome Whyte, and Ceion Allen.

They are to return to the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on July 23 for either a preliminary enquiry or for their matter to be transferred to the Home Circuit Court.

Meanwhile, Whyte, Adams, Bucknor, and Samuels are to return to court on June 30 for bail applications.

Taylor and Allen are already on bail.

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