Al Miller to appeal - Popular pastor flip flops on declaration he would not contest conviction
The Reverend Al Miller, backing away from his declaration that he would not contest his conviction for attempting to pervert the course of justice, is heading to court to appeal the guilty verdict handed down by Parish Judge Simone Wolf Reece earlier this year.
In a statement to the media yesterday, Miller's attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, said the sudden about-turn came after the popular clergyman received "advice, the urging of many individuals, and his own prayerful reflection on all that transpired leading up to, at, and since trial".
According to the statement, "Reverend Miller has instructed that based on all the above, he believes it is important for the Court of Appeal to consider and rule on the important legal issues arising from his case, including Jamaica's relationship with other countries, particularly in the context of extradition matters and .... the relationship between the citizen and the police."
When The Gleaner contacted Samuels-Brown's office, a woman, who refused to identify herself, abruptly disconnected the call, only saying, "What's in the statement obtains."
Paula Llewellyn, the country's director of public prosecutions (DPP), yesterday told The Gleaner that Miller was within his rights to appeal.
She, however, said that her office had not received any papers regarding the appeal.
"The attorneys would have to serve something [to state] that they have the intention to appeal, but they have a particular time in which they have to do it. They can always put in holding grounds, and then later on, they can ask the permission of the court to file supplemental grounds," she said.
READY TO BATTLE
The DPP said her office would do research and prepare itself to beat whatever the grounds are on which the defence files its appeal.
Miller was charged with perverting the course of justice in July 2010 when then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke was found in his company travelling along the Mandela Highway in St Catherine.
Miller had testified that he was transporting Coke to the US Embassy with the full knowledge of the Police High Command. He denied ever trying to elude the police.
Wolfe Reece rejected Miller's testimony and said evidence presented at the trial supported a finding of fact that Miller was seeking to evade the local authorities in their quest to arrest Coke.
Miller had been initially charged with harbouring a fugitive and attempting to pervert the course of justice. However, the charge of harbouring a fugitive was dropped shortly after the trial began.