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Funds shortage delays Boulevard murder retrial

Published:Tuesday | October 14, 2014 | 10:00 AM
LLEWELLYN

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn is to decide if the two policemen charged with the murder of two men, who were allegedly abducted from a shopping plaza off the Washington Boulevard 10 years ago, will face a new trial when the criminal courts are equipped to deal with evidence by video link towards the end of December next year.

Llewellyn discontinued prosecution yesterday when she entered a conditional nolle prosequi in the case dubbed the Boulevard Murder Case.

Corporal Louis Lynch and Constable Paul Edwards were ordered in January last year to face a retrial.

The order was made after a jury failed to return a verdict at the end of a trial that lasted from October 29, 2012, to January 9, 2013, in the Home Circuit Court.

Llewellyn said the policemen's trial was the forerunner to the Vybz Kartel murder trial, which lasted for 64 days.

One of the reasons she gave for not proceeding with the case at this time was economics. She pointed out that the previous trial cost the Government approximately $20 million for three of the five witnesses who live abroad. She said there were several other cases in which witnesses were overseas and there were accused persons in custody who were awaiting their first trial.

"It is my view that the Crown will not be able at this time to mount a viable prosecution," Llewellyn said.

She told the court that she hoped that by the end of 2015, there would be the full effect of the regulations for the Evidence Special Measures Act that will facilitate video link evidence for which the courts would be retrofitted.

Plans to revisit case

She said at that time, she would revisit the case. She said at the end of the trial, which involved three persons - one was acquitted, there was a hung jury in respect of another. There was in effect a majority verdict of nine to three in respect of the third person, but Justice Horace Marsh (now retired) ordered a retrial for both men.

In the meantime, Llewellyn said that for administrative purposes, she would be forwarding the file and transcript to the commissioner of police for him to take any administrative action he might see possible.

Assistant Superintendent Victor Barrett, who was charged jointly with the men, was acquitted by the jury.

Senior Puisne Judge Gloria Smith told the men they were free to go until if and when the relevant laws were in place and the DPP revisited the matter.

The Crown is alleging that 20-year-old Kemar Walters, of Kitson Town, St Catherine, and 45-year-old Oliver Duncan, of Olympic Gardens, Kingston 11, were abducted from Washington Plaza, along Washington Boulevard, on December 23, 2004.

Walters and Duncan were allegedly shot to death after being taken from the plaza. Their bodies have not been recovered.

The men are being represented by attorneys-at-law Valerie Neita Robertson and Deborah Martin.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com