Sun | Dec 17, 2017

I want my job back, declares cop cleared of killing wanted man

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

A police constable yesterday recounted the terrifying two years he spent locked up with hardened criminals after he was convicted of killing a wanted man, but said he holds no grudge and just wants his job back.

Glenroy McDermott was convicted in 2006 for the fatal shooting of Michael Dorsett, popularly known as 'Buba', during a police operation in 2000. Dorsett was wanted by the police for various crimes, including murder.

McDermott was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to serve 20 years before being eligible for parole.

It was not long before the self-described crime fighter discovered that criminals call the shots in prison and that he was in the same institution with Buba's cronies, as well as criminals he arrested for serious and violent crimes.

"I went through a lot of things - mentally, physically and emotionally - while in custody. You have inmates in there who want to kill you. Being in custody is not an easy road, especially as a police officer," he stated.

In 2008, the Court of Appeal quashed McDermott's conviction and ordered a retrial.

The court agreed with the legal argument presented by his attorney, Valerie Neita-Robertson, that the instructions to the jury were inadequate and could only have served to confuse them about what the constable could do to apprehend persons who committed offences in his presence.

NOT BITTER

Yesterday, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions announced that it was offering no evidence against him, and for the first time in 15 years, he walked out of the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston a free man.

"I feel like I just born out of my mother's womb. I feel like a brand new man, like the world come off a me head," he told The Gleaner outside court.

McDermott said his experience has helped him to appreciate the risk at which members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) serve.

"You as a police officer in the line of duty can be carrying out your lawful duty and still you can end up being a criminal, and the criminal can end up being an innocent man," he reasoned.

Still, he insisted that he was not bitter at anyone or the judicial process.

"It wouldn't be fair to say I'm bitter with the system, because is the same system that saw it fit to mek me walk as a successful man in this matter," he said.

McDermott has been on unpaid leave pending the outcome of his case and made it clear that he wants to continue serving in the JCF.

"All my aim was to be a police officer. I am still a police officer and will always be until I'm ready to retire," he said.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com