Wednesday 17 July, 2019

Cops walk free in latest ‘death squad’ trial

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has directed the jury to return formal verdicts of not guilty against the defendants charged with the murder of Andrew Bisson in Cornpiece district, Hayes, Clarendon in September 2011, in the third edition of the police ‘death squad’ murder trials.

The defendants were Detective Corporal Kevin Adams, Constable Carl Bucknor and District Constable Howard Brown, who were on trial up to Wednesday morning.

Bisson was said to have been taken inside a one-bedroom board house by the policemen and shot to death.

The cops went on trial recently following the November 18, 2018 conviction of Constable Collis ‘Chucky’ Brown on triple murder charges in the second death squad trial.  

'Chucky' Brown and Constable Roan Morrison were both acquitted of the respective charges against them in the first death squad trial in 2017.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), whose probe led to the prosecution of Adams, Bucknor and Brown among a total of 12 cops on murder charges since 2014, said in a release a short while ago, that following the prosecution’s submission in court, the trial Justice Sykes directed the jury to return verdicts of not guilty against the defendants.

The release said the prosecution offered no further evidence against the defendants in the trial.

The move followed the chief justice’s ruling that the statements of a key witness in the case would not be tendered into evidence.

INDECOM stated that although the prosecution’s case included forensic evidence, the prosecuting team did not think that the case was fit to go to the jury unless the evidence of the key witness was adduced.

“The witness was important in this case, as he was (allegedly) present at the shooting of Mr Bisson. The witness had attested to a justice of the peace prior to the committal proceedings, as to the veracity of his statements. Prior to the commencement of this trial, both the key witness and the justice of the peace died,” the release from INDECOM stated.

“The prosecution called as witnesses, the wife of the justice of the peace, personnel from governmental organisations, and a handwriting expert. The wife recognised and confirmed the signature on the attestation to the statements as that of her husband,” INDECOM further stated.

“Government personnel confirmed the witness’ signature on documents. A Jamaican-born, internationally-certified handwriting expert (testified) that the same witness had signed all (the) statements and documents. However, this was disputed by a Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) handwriting expert,” the release from INDECOM added.

The so-called police death squad, which reportedly had 16 members, allegedly carried out extrajudicial killings of criminal suspects on the instructions of their superiors in Clarendon between 2009 and 2013.

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