Thursday 22 August, 2019

Postmortem date controversy dogs woman’s death in police custody

A view of the Half-Way Tree Police Station.

A view of the Half-Way Tree Police Station.

More controversy is brewing in the case of Desreen Morris, the woman whose body was recently found in a holding area at the Half-Way Tree Police Station.

The police report on the development said on March 2 Morris was found hanging from a beam in the holding area after reportedly using a piece of her clothing to commit suicide.

Family members of the deceased told Loop News that over a week ago they were told that a date had been set for a postmortem examination of the body, but this did not give them an opportunity to have a private pathologist witness the examination.

“When we heard about the development, a lawyer from Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) had to write to the authorities, informing them that such action was a breach (of our rights), and that the family wanted to have our pathologist present,” said another relative of the deceased.

“Several emails were sent, and the postmortem was postponed,” said Lorraine, a sister of the deceased.

But with the postponement, another problem has developed.

Lorraine told Loop News that the family has been trying to find out from the authorities when is the new date for the postmortem examination, so that they can inform their pathologist, but they are yet to get an answer from the officials.

“We wrote several letters, but to date they have not answered, and we are becoming concerned,” said Lorraine.

“First they wanted to carry out the postmortem without our pathologist being present, and now they don’t (seem to) want to give us the new date so that we can prepare ourselves,” said Lorraine.

A lawyer from JFJ, who was contacted by Loop News late on Thursday, confirmed the reports of the family members.

“We have written to the forensic lab; we are seeking a date from them, and they are yet to assign us a date as to when the postmortem will be conducted,” said the attorney, who requested anonymity.

The attorney described the development as being strange, but declined to comment further on the matter.

Family members told Loop News that Morris was taken to the station on March 2 on a warrant for her arrest.

Information is that she was left in the holding area at the station, where she was later found dead.

Police sources said she reportedly committed suicide, but family members have challenged the claim.

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