Cabinet discussing payment for attorneys in death squad cases
Cabinet is expected to give consent shortly for the release of funds to pay legal fees owed to lawyers for police personnel facing murder charges arising from the so-called death squad cases.
The cases, which involve about nine policemen, have stalled in the courts as the attorneys insist that they be paid.
Norman Godfrey, the attorney representing Constable Collis 'Chucky' Brown in his second murder trial, revealed in court recently that he has not be paid for the first case.
Brown was found not guilty of murder and wounding with intent in that trial, which ended last year.
The Ministry of National Security, through its Legal Defence Fund, provides assistance for cops facing criminal charges arising from incidents that occur in the line of duty.
Minister of National Security Robert Montague announced last week that $107 million has been allocated to the fund, up from the $20 million that was set aside in the current Budget.
Montague, who was speaking at a Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) strategic retreat, revealed that the funds are with his ministry, but said, "The matter is being discussed by Cabinet."
He declined to elaborate on the issue when contacted by The Gleaner.
However, according to government sources, Cabinet requested answers to a number of legal questions from the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file members of the JCF.
"The federation has provided the answers and the funds should be released shortly," the source said.
A total of 11 policemen were charged with murder and other serious criminal offences following an investigation by the Independent Commission of Investigation. It is being alleged that they were responsible for several killings that were reported as homicides by civilians.