Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Mario Deane's family stages peaceful anniversary protest

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2016 | 8:00 AMOkoye Henry
Family and friends spreading awareness while honouring the memory of Mario Deane in front of the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St James.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Family and friends of the late Mario Deane took to the streets of Montego Bay, St James, on Wednesday to mark the two-year anniversary since the brutal beating of the then 31-year-old construction worker while in the custody of the Barnett Street police.

The group, led by Deane's mother, Mercia Frazer, and Dennis Meadows, co-convener of Citizens' Action for Principles and Integrity, held placards in front of the Barnett Street Police Station in honour of Deane's memory as well as to demonstrate their level of frustration with delays in the two-year trial.

Deane was beaten in 2014 after being arrested for a ganja spliff. He died days later in hospital.

Frazer told The Gleaner that the case had been going at a snail's pace, with trivial matters contributing to creating major setbacks and delays.

"Small things like to do some recording, they said they need a disc when they had like a whole six weeks to put that together," Frazer complained.

"Witnesses sometimes don't turn up. In May, there was a police officer that was to witness in court, and he knew, yet just before the date, he took vacation and went abroad. So we had to go to court to find out why he wasn't there - to find out that he was abroad - and to go back next court date to find out how to contact him as well as to make a new date when he is coming in," she added.

Her sentiments were echoed by Meadows, who said he believed the justice system was sometimes a hindrance to, rather than a facilitator of, justice.

Meadows argued that if it were a high-profile figure or foreign national who had died, the case would have long been resolved.

"I believe much of the domestic violence we now suffer in terms of the murder rate can be attributed to the frustration with our justice system. People rather resolve their issues informally rather than pursue it formally in the courts," he said.

Meadows, however, noted that no matter how long Deane's trial takes, he would be standing by the family until justice was served.

The family has also vowed to be back at the location on the same date next year if the case is not brought to closure.