Tuesday 25 June, 2019

Two cops freed of murder in Clarendon 'death squad' case

Two members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) were freed of murder charges relating to the shooting death of Adoplus Reader in the Seven Road community in May Pen, Clarendon in February 2013, in the fourth edition of the so-called police 'death squad' murder cases.

The defendants were Sergeant Mario Taylor and Constable Shannon Allen, who appeared in the Home Circuit Court in Kingston on Wednesday.

The officers pleaded not guilty before High Court judge, Justice Vivene Harris, and were expected to stand trial.

However, prosecutors dropped the cases against the accused men, citing that they did not have enough evidence to disprove the reports of Sergeant Taylor and Constable Allen that they were acting in self-defence when they fatally shot Reader during a police operation at a house on Sevens Road on February 28, 2013.

This was despite claims that the deceased who, according to the police, was a suspect in a murder case, was executed by the lawmen.

Following the prosecution's admission, the policemen were freed.

In January, three cops who were on trial in relation to the Clarendon death squad cases - Detective Corporal Kevin Adams, Constable Carl Bucknor and District Constable Howard Brown - were freed of the murder of Andrew Bisson in Cornpiece district, Hayes, Clarendon.

Bisson was said to have been taken inside a one-bedroom board house by the policemen, and shot to death in September 2011.

The cops went on trial late last year, following the November 18, 2018 conviction of 42-year-old ex-constable, Collis ‘Chucky’ Brown, on triple murder charges in the second death squad trial. 

Brown, who had spent half his life (21 years) in the JCF, was sentenced to a combined 105 years behind bars on Friday, January 25.

It could have been worse, but nine years were knocked off for time spent behind bars and ‘good antecedents’. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served 51 years, by which time he would be age 93.

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

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

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) led a probe into the allegations of the presence of a 'death squad', resulting in a total of 12 cops being charged with offences, including murder, since 2014.

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