Men convicted in Mario Deane's death walk free

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Men convicted in Mario Deane's death walk free

Judge sentences them to time served

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 31, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The two mentally ill men who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the beating death of St James resident Mario Deane while in police custody in 2014 were set free in the St James Circuit Court yesterday.

Adrian Morgan and Marvin Orr were sentenced to five years and six months by Supreme Court judge Justice Glen Brown. However the men, who pleaded guilty on Wednesday, have been in custody for the past six years and were set free on the basis of time served.

Justice Brown, in his summation, said the men had virtually served their sentence while awaiting an outcome of the case.

Both Morgan and Orr, who suffer from schizophrenia, had been awaiting the commencement of a plea bargain discussion. However, it had been delayed on several occasions since last year, as the court awaited the completion of forensic psychiatric reports for the men.

Dr Myo Kyaw Oo, who is said to be the only doctor in the country trained to prepare a forensic psychiatric report, appeared in court via Zoom yesterday.

When asked by Justice Brown how many psychiatrists are assigned to the prison system, the mental health expert replied: “One. I am the only one.”

Morgan's attorney, Franklin Haliburton, told the Jamaica Observer after court that “the powers that be need to do something. They need to look at the system and see how they can pump resources into the system to improve things like that. They need to start thinking about attracting more psychiatrists and more doctors into the correctional services so that reports can be done and presented to the court in a timely fashion, so that matters can move along”.

Dr Oo had explained that at the time of the offence, the men were displaying symptoms of the illness. He further pointed out that having kept the men on the psychiatric ward of the prison and administered medical treatment, they were now fit to plead.

Dr Oo also made it clear that the men, who were released into the care of their families yesterday, will have to continue receiving treatment in order to prevent a relapse into a state of psychosis.

Meanwhile, a third man, Damion Cargill, who was charged along with Morgan and Orr, was ruled unfit to answer to the charges or to stand trial. He was, therefore, released on July 2018 into the care of his family.

Deane, a 31-year-old construction worker, was taken into custody by the police for possession of a ganja spliff. However, while in custody he was severely beaten and was later taken to Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James with severe injuries to the head. He died three days later.

Following the incident, the police charged Orr and Morgan, who were in custody at the time, with Deane's death. Cargill was charged in 2015.


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