Thu | Aug 17, 2017

St Thomas tense after cop freed in death of pregnant woman

Published:Tuesday | April 4, 2017 | 4:00 AMShanna Kaye Monteith

Tension and disunity were evident at Yallahs Square in St Thomas after news of a not-guilty verdict against police Corporal Dwayne Smart, who was charged with the 2012 murder of a pregnant woman, spread like wildfire yesterday.

Smart was freed of all charges in connection with the killing of 27-year-old Kayann Lamont, who was eight months pregnant at the time. Lamont was shot twice during an alleged altercation with Smart after she was accosted for using expletives.

Smart was also found not guilty of wounding with intent with regards to the injury of Lamont's sister who was also shot on the scene. The incident had sparked days of protest by angry residents.

One man, claiming to be a relative of Lamont was "crippled" by the ruling.

"Bwoy, I wasn't expecting to hear this at all. Mi cousin just gone suh? And no justice? She was the innocent one! She and her baby, a dem innocent. Justice couldn't have been served when a pregnant, unarmed woman, was shot and killed and her sister shot, all for cussing a bad word!

"She did just come from town and a tell people seh dem rob her. That's how we Jamaicans express we self. Bwoy, I don't know," he sighed.

Another resident weighed in on the matter, demonstrating his displeasure with the verdict.

"Plain [foolishness]! There is nothing more that we can do! How it aguh look on Jamaica when people hear news like this and then hear that the person responsible got away? What is wrong with our justice system? I just lost the little faith I had in it. Nothing nuh name justice again," he said as he walked away spewing swear words.

'He's not a murderer'

Some persons have praised the judiciary for what they deem as impartilaity in the case against Dwayne Smart.

"I personally know the policeman and he's not a murderer. I know he's a community person, who have good relationship with people in the area, so when I heard of the incident, I realised that something was wrong," one resident said, adding that justice was served.

Also giving the verdict thumbs up were a group of women who claim they witnessed the incident as they work in the area.

"I was a distance off and saw everything. I saw when the police was nudging her (Lamont) to the station after them say she curse badword in his presence. Mi see when the sister run up and start 'defend' her and the two of them started to fight the police. The sister sweep him foot off the ground and a suh him drop with the pregnant woman. Two of them nearly gang him out there. A suh him get fraid and draw him gun and fire the shots.

"I think he got the justice he deserves because it looked like self-defence to me. It is sad to know that she died like that but if it wasn't for her aggressiveness, she would have been alive today. She was out of order," one of them said.