Trial of cops in Mario Deane's death now set for Jan 2021Tuesday, September 22, 2020
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The trial of the three police personnel charged by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) in relation to the death of then St James resident Mario Deane in 2014 has been pushed back to January of next year.
The delay is as a result of the suspension of jury trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
January 18, 2021 was set as the new trial date when the case was called up in the St James Circuit Court, yesterday.
The three accused — Corporal Elaine Stewart, 52; District Constable Marlon Grant, 29; and District Constable Juliana Clevon, 34 — all had their bail extended. They are charged with manslaughter, perverting the course of justice, and misconduct in a public ofﬁce.
When the matter was mentioned in court yesterday before Justice Stephane Jackson Haisley, Martyn Thomas, one of the lawyers representing two of the accused, told the court, “I had discussions with my clients and they have both indicated that they would wish for their matter to be dealt with before a jury.”
Crown council, Kimberly Dell Williams then suggested the January 18, 2021 date.
“Miss Stewart, Mr Grant and Miss Clevon, your matter has been set for trial on the 18th of January next year. Your case cannot proceed now because jury trials have been suspended...,” Justice Jackson Haisley then told the accused.
During a church service to mark the beginning of the Michaelmas term of the St James Circuit Court on Sunday, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes implored attorneys to embrace bench trials instead of jury trials as a means of keeping the wheels of the justice system turning.
He said the Privy Council had stated approximately 20 years ago that “there is no right to a jury trial”.
Meanwhile Deane's mother, Mercia Fraser, told reporters that while the case has dragged on for years, “I am hoping that justice will be served at the end of the day”.
Deane was taken into police custody at the Barnett Street Police Station for possession of a ganja spliff on Sunday, August 3, 2014. He died three days later in hospital after receiving severe injuries to the head while in custody.
Following the incident, the police charged Adrian Morgan and Marvin Orr, who were in custody at the time, with Deane's death.
Morgan and Orr, who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the beating death of Deane, were set free in the St James Circuit Court on Thursday, July 30 this year.
Both men who suffer from schizophrenia were sentenced to five years and six months by Justice Glen Brown. However, the men who pleaded guilty a day before the sentencing, were in custody for six years were set free on the basis of time served.
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 released in July 2017 into the care of his family.