Tue | May 26, 2020

Court orders convict's trial to be fast-tracked

Published:Friday | March 30, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Constitutional Court has acknowledged that its order for the preliminary enquiry into the murder charge against Mervin Cameron, to be completed by May 30, may result in the case 'leapfrogging' other matters. However, the judges explained in their ruling, delivered last Friday, that "in the peculiar circumstances of this case, this order is necessary to prevent further breach of the rights of the claimant". The Constitutional Court consisted of Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, Justice Kirk Anderson, and Justice David Fraser.

Cameron, who has convictions for illegal possession of firearm, shooting with intent, and possession of stolen goods, was arrested and charged with murder in March 2013 after police investigators alleged that the owner of a motor car he had sold turned up dead.

He has denied the allegations and insists that he did not have a motor vehicle in his possession and that he never sold a stolen motor vehicle to anyone.

Cameron asserted, in court documents, that the police presented no forensic evidence linking him to the motor car in question or held an identification parade to test the truthfulness of the persons who claimed he sold them the vehicle.

Despite this, he said that he was arrested and charged with murder and illegal possession of firearm and placed before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court for a preliminary enquiry to determine whether there was a case for him to answer.

Case stalled

Since being placed before the court for a preliminary enquiry related to a murder charge, Mervin Cameron and his attorneys say that the case has stalled. Cameron claims, too, that to date, none of the prosecution witnesses has given evidence at the preliminary enquiry, which was adjourned in October 2016 with no date for a resumption.

Those assertions did not escape the attention of Justice Sykes, who pointed to other troubling features of the case.

"It is to be noted that neither Mr Cameron nor the Attorney General indicated the exact date Mr Cameron was charged; when he was first placed before the court, the number of times the matter has been before the court, and what occurred on each occasion," Sykes wrote.

Sykes said that in the circumstances, he was of the view that a stay of the preliminary enquiry was appropriate.

"A consequential order is that the Crown cannot seek to try Mr Cameron for any offence, whether by indictment or information or any other mode of trial whatsoever, for any offence arising out of the facts of the case which led to him being charged with the offence of murder," he wrote in his dissenting judgment.

However, his colleagues, Justice Anderson and Justice Fraser, took a different view, declaring that a stay of the enquiry is the most "extreme remedy", which should be a last resort that is only employed if no other remedy is suitable.