Juror shortage hampers trial of cops charged in Mario Deane case
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The long-awaited trial of three cops charged in relation to the 2014 death of St James resident, Mario Deane has been postponed until next year.
The trial was scheduled to begin in the St James Circuit Court on Monday, but proceedings were cancelled due to a lack of jurors.
Police corporal Elaine Stewart, along with constables Juliana Clevon and Marlon Grant were arrested and charged with manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, and perverting the course of justice in relation to Deane’s death.
Grant and Stewart are being represented by attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas, while attorney Dalton Reid represents Clevon.
Due to the challenges with the jurors, High Court Justice Judith Pusey rescheduled the trial for February 27, 2024 and extended the cops’ bail.
Deane was taken into police custody at the Barnett Street police station for the possession of a ganja spliff on August 3, 2014. However, he died three days later in hospital after receiving severe injuries to the head while in custody.
It is alleged that the three cops were on duty at the police station at the time when Deane was beaten.
It is further alleged that Stewart gave instructions for the cell where Deane was beaten to be cleaned before the arrival of investigators from the Independent Commission of Investigations.
Following the incident, the police charged Adrian Morgan and Marvin Orr, who were in custody at the time, with Deane’s death.
Both men, who suffer from schizophrenia, were sentenced to five years and six months by Supreme Court Justice Glen Brown in July 2020 after they pleaded guilty to manslaughter. However, Justice Brown ordered their release, pointing to the fact that the men had been in custody since their arrest nearly six years prior.
A third man, Damion Cargill, was charged in 2015. However, Cargill was ruled unfit to answer to the charges or to stand trial. He was therefore released in July 2017 into the care of his family.