Correctional Services distances itself from McLean's alleged sex escapades

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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FOLLOWING reports that convicted killer Michael McLean had used false writs to leave prison at least 19 times to engage in sex while awaiting trial, the Department of Correctional Services, while welcoming a police probe into the matter, disclosed that if the convict had left the facility, it was under the guise that he was going to court.

The Department of Correctional Services also told the Jamaica Observer that McLean has never left the facility in the night and insisted that at no time was the convict taken out of the facility by a correctional officer.

“Life is fluid, situations are dynamic, and we know that based on procedures we take, no one in our institutions or correctional centres should be culpable. However, we do not know, categorically, that someone could not be in collusion, so we welcome [the probe]…

“Let me emphasise, we want a robust investigation, but one of the things we can categorically state, no correctional officer took him out of our correctional centre. He left on what we thought, based on what our records showed, legitimate release situations, that is going to court,” the department's director of communication and public relations, Dexter Thompson, told the Observer yesterday.

“When an inmate leaves a correctional centre, he leaves for a specific reason; one, he could be going for medical examination and the other is for court. There has to be a written release for someone to leave our correctional centre. In the case of McLean, it is a situation where he would have been going to court and, as a result, the writ would have come from the court office,” he added.

Thompson also explained that the department does not write or issue writs/warrants of commitment and is duty-bound to act on writs/warrants of commitment when presented by the court.

“When an inmate or remandee is picked up by the police for court, the inmate/remandee is the responsibility of the police until he/she returns to the correctional facilities,” he said.

Thompson further stated that: “Under no circumstance did he leave any of our centre in the night and in no circumstances did McLean leave with a correctional officer, at no time.”

McLean, a 51-year-old St Thomas businessman, was last Wednesday sentenced to six life terms in prison and ordered to serve 48 years before being eligible for parole for murdering his girlfriend and five of her family members, including four children.

Following his sentencing, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn reported that the police had started an investigation into his reports and that there are indications that he had left the facility at least three times.

McLean, at the start of his trial in February, had called for the intervention of the Independent Commission of Investigations while alleging that he had proof that he had visited several guest houses and had dated two teachers and a secretary while in police custody for the past 12 years.

At the end of his trial, while undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, he further reported that he was allowed to leave prison 19 times and taken to various guest houses by police officers. He said, in return, he would take police officers to locations where he had stashed guns, drugs and money, and hand the items over to them.

Thompson, in his telephone interview with the Observer, also addressed a concern that was raised by Justice Bertram Morrison, regarding McLean being allowed to wear jewellery during the trial.

The director of communication said McLean was given his personal possession on each occasion that he left for court because he was a remandee, and it was possible that, on one of the occasions, he could have been freed by the court or released on bail.

“Based on admission and release procedures, items belonging to a remandee are taken from him or her when he/she enters a correctional centre. These items are returned to the individual when he/she is released. This includes when he/she is released for court, as there is the possibility that the individual may not return,” he said.

“McLean was free to have his possessions and free to wear the clothes he was wearing. I will say that he was flamboyant but he could afford to be, but that is something that we have no control over,” he continued.

McLean was convicted on March 6 for the killing of his girlfriend Terry-Ann Mohammed, her niece Patrice Martin-McCool, and children, Lloyd McCool, Jihad McCool, Sean Chin, and Jessie O 'Gilvie.

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