Thu | Apr 2, 2020

British mortar expert to continue testimony

Published:Thursday | February 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM

British mortar expert Chris Cobb-Smith is scheduled to continue giving evidence when the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry resumes today.

Cobb-Smith, who is also a major in the United Kingdom military, is to be cross-examined by attorney Michael Williams, who is representing several residents of Tivoli Gardens.

Former Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Chief of Defence Staff Major General Stewart Saunders has testified before the commission that he authorised the use of mortars during the May 2010 operations that were aimed at capturing drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

The army had initially denied that mortars were used.

However, Stewart testified that a total of 37 mortars were fired into three open spaces in Tivoli Gardens. He said the aim was to disorientate armed thugs, who were shooting at members of the security forces, and to keep women and children indoors and out of harms way.

The three-member commission, chaired by former Barbados Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, is probing the conduct of the May 2010 police-military operations.

According to an interim report by the Office of the Public Defender, 74 civilians and one member of the JDF were killed in the operations.