Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Inmates in Mario Deane beating death case fit to plead

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer
Prostesters carrying a banner with the image of Mario Deane, who died from injuries sustained allegedly from detainees while in a police lock-up in Montego Bay in August 2014. The protests took place before Jamaica House in St Andrew on March 15, 2018, which was observed as International Day Against Police Brutality.

WESTERN BUREAU:

After almost two years of wrangling, it has now been decided that Marvin Orr and Adrian Morgan, two of three inmates charged in connection with the 2014 beating death of Mario Deane, are fit to stand trial, paving the way for the case to proceed.

The decision was taken against the background of separate psychiatric evaluations of the men, who were on deemed unfit to plead in previous court appearances. The latest psychiatric evaluations were recently handed over to the St James Circuit Court.

Attorney-at-law Franklin Haliburton, who is representing Morgan, told The Gleaner that the reports were submitted to presiding High Court Justice Vivienne Harris when the defendants were brought to court last Friday.

"The psychiatric evaluations for Mr Orr and Mr Morgan have come in. They were done, respectively, on February 15 and March 2, so these are the most recent reports, and what both evaluations say is that both gentlemen are fit to plea and to stand trial," said Haliburton.

The attorney noted that, following the submission of the reports, Justice Harris ordered that a second set of reports should be done for the men ahead of their next court date of April 20.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the judge has asked that another psychiatric evaluation be done, so that we are not relying only on the medical evaluations that we currently have in hand," said Haliburton. "The Criminal Justice Administration Act specifies that if we are to embark on a fitness-to-plea hearing, we really need two evaluations. In the spirit of the Act, we are making sure we leave no stones unturned, and hence another evaluation has been ordered for the gentlemen."

The court is also awaiting the medical records for Orr and Morgan at the time they were in custody at the Barnett Street police lock-up in Montego Bay, prior to incident on August 3, 2014 when Deane, who was in custody for possession of a ganja spliff, was brutally beaten and subsequently died.

The third inmate Damion Cargill was at an earlier hearing deemed as mentally unfit to stand trial and was released into the custody of his family. Three police officers were also charged in connection with the case.