Saturday 21 September, 2019

A view from the outside: Mob justice and the rule of law

With Karyl Walker

Emotions ran in the rural St Andrew districts of Padmore, Sterling Castle and Blue Hole recently with the discovery of the remains of young Shante Skyers.

The mob was frothing at the mouth and then some. They wanted justice and sought it by mobbing and burning to death a man who was suspected of having involvement in the heinous crime.

Twenty-seven-year-old Miguel Williams is no more. He was said to have been found with Shante’s schoolbag in a little hut where he lived. That was all the crowd needed to know.

But was it really justice?

People in the island are tired of the lengthy periods a trial takes to get off the ground and the justice system is in need of more repairs, thus the many incidents of mob justice that has been occurring lately.

Shante Skyers

My information is that Williams was a man of unsound mind. That he had mental challenges and was found with the child’s bag meant 'he must have had something to do with the murder'.

But maybe he could have found the bag in bushes. It does not add up to me that a man would carry out such a crime and still have crucial evidence in his possession, whatever his mental state.

Miguel Williams may well be an unfortunate victim of mental illness that befell the mob who took his life. The people need justice and those wheels turn too slowly in Jamaica.

One can only hope that Shante’s killer/killers are brought to justice quickly and, justice not only been done, but appears to have been done.

One can understand the sentiment and high emotions of the people who lost Shante from their midst so brutally, however we cannot allow mob rule.  Who is to say that someone with a vendetta against anyone of us will not cook up a story and have the mob do their bidding?

We must do everything post haste to improve the speed at which justice is dispensed so the mob’s wrath and thirst for blood can be quenched or the result will be more mob killings, justified or not.

Let us heed the warning signs. The people can’t take it anymore and their cup has overflowed.

Karyl Walker is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked for Loop Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, the RJR Communications Group and Nationwide Radio among other media entities. He now resides in South Florida.

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