The Police vs The Judge – #KartelMurderTrial

THE JAMAICA CONSTABULARY FORCE
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS UNIT
NEWS RELEASE
FRIDAY
2014-02-07
ATTEMPTED FIREBOMBING OF THE HOUSE OF POLICE WITNESS
The Police are investigating the attempted firebombing of the house of a Police witness in a high profile case now before the courts. The Policeman, who has been under threats for some time, is being provided appropriate security. The Police High Command has assured the Officer and his family that no effort will be spared to keep them safe.   In the meantime, the Police are warning those responsible for this latest incident to desist or be prepared to face the consequence when caught.
—–
Above is the content of the Constabulary Communication Network, CCN release which landed the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Steve Brown responsible for such releases in trouble with Presiding Judge in the high profile murder trial of R v Adija Palmer and others. Palmer is known to most in Jamaica as Vybz Kartel. The Honourable Mr Justice Lennox Campbell had reason mid January to send a message to CCN Head when this release was issued:

THE JAMAICA CONSTABULARY FORCE

CONSTABULARY COMMUNICATION NETWORK

NEWS RELEASE

FRIDAY

2014-01-10

 

POLICE LAUNCH INVESTIGATIONS INTO MALICIOUS CRIMINAL ACTS

 

Senior investigators from the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) headquarters of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have launched an investigation into the reports of a series of activities which have been linked to a particular case that is currently before the Court.

One of two latest activities reported, involves a case of robbery while the other involves a case of malicious destruction of property.

On one occasion, a hotel where it is believed a witness was staying, was invaded.  During the robbery, the criminals took the guest list and JMD one thousand. No other valuables were removed from the location. In another incident, a number of fibre optic cables at one of the cell sites of a telecommunications company were maliciously destroyed.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the acts appear to have been deliberately orchestrated by associates of suspects in custody; criminals who seek to intimidate witnesses and pervert the course of justice.

While the investigations continue, the Police are warning individuals who continue to support criminality that the law will take its full force, even as they seek to interfere with the proceedings geared towards bringing their fellow hoodlums to justice for the crimes they have committed.

Citizens are urged to report suspicious activities and any information to the Police immediately. Individuals may contact the CIB headquarters at 922-9847/922-7855, Crime Stop at 311, Kingfish at 811, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.

——

At the time of January release to the media, a furious Tom Tavares Finson made submissions to the judge seeking to have the Commissioner of Police summoned to court. The judge at the time, did not think it necessary as he said he had nothing in front of him that came from the desk of the Commissioner of Police.
A message was sent to the Head of the Police Corporate Communications Unit, CCU, Deputy Superintendent Steve Brown urging caution when issuing press releases. Perhaps the passage of one month had caused the DSP to forget the judge’s instructions. The judge would not be made to forget as defence lawyers were quick to draw in court on the morning of the 10th of February regarding DSP Brown’s latest infraction.
Justice Campbell did not spare a moment in summoning DSP Brown for a stern warning. The court is very jealous of its authority and any attempt to undermine it will be swiftly cauterized.  DSP Brown presented himself at bird speed. He wished to be heard by the judge. The judge laid it out. He listened then begged to speak. Tom Tavares Finson chimed in and the judged issued firm instructions.
The Police Communication Head had a wry grin on his face. The judge had put on his poker face. DSP Brown walked to witness box as if he intended to give evidence in the Kartel murder trial. Judge Campbell stopped him in his tracks. Like a lamb to the slaughter, the Deputy Superintendent of Police stood with his hands behind his back a few feet away from the witness box where he was addressed by the Home Circuit Court Judge.Justice Campbell spoke directly to DSP Brown-

“This is not the first time the description high profile has been used. It does not take a lot of detective work to link it to this case…the Court is intent on balancing the right of freedom of speech and the right of the accused to a fair trial…much time has been spent in this case and I do not want any prejudice in this matter. I also do not want this mention of high profile matter. That is a mere charade…”

Judge Campbell reminded DSP Brown that Kartel and his co-accused are facing serious charges and that in the present case the right of the accused to a fair trial will trump the right to freedom of expression.

The DSP requested to speak. The judge said it was not necessary.The Court the judge said was not of the view that the Police had acted intentionally in attempting the prejudice the case of Kartel and his co-accused. But, said Justice Campbell to DSP Brown, if the Court was so convinced it would not shy away from exercising its coercive powers.

Deputy Superintendent Brown again wanted to speak. Justice Campbell obliged – “if u wish to say something – please do.”

The Police Communication boss commented to Justice Campbell – ‘What I wish to say is that there are several ongoing high profile cases including the Cuban light bulb, Forbes, Vaz and Bicknell and the ATL pension case.’

A fuming Tom Tavares Finson intervened and attacked the relevance of DSP Brown’s comment. The attorney emphasized to DSP Brown that regardless of the case before the Court the Police should be careful to not act in a prejudicial manner.

The court’s authority re-established, rights re-balanced, DSP Brown left, Attorneys happy, the case continues.
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About emilyshields

Attorney-at-Law, Partner -Gifford Thompson & Shields; Broadcast Journalist; Host of RJR's Hotline - www.rjr94fm.com; Gunner Twitter- @emilymshields
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