Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Third ‘death squad’ trial set for next Monday

Published:Tuesday | November 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has ordered the parties involved in the trial for three more cops implicated in a so-called Clarendon 'police death squad' to be prepared to start the proceedings next Monday, denying the prosecution's request for a new trial date.

Yesterday, the court was told that if an adjournment was granted, a trial date would not be available until 2020.

The trial was previously adjourned on two occasions.

"The days of unlimited access to the court's time are at an end," Justice Sykes said at the Supreme Court hearing, citing that adjournments can only be granted for very good reasons.

Detective Corporal Kevin Adams, District Constable Howard Brown and Constable Carl Bucknor were charged in 2014 with the murder of Andrew Bisson on September 5, 2011.

Their trial was set to begin yesterday, but the prosecution requested a new date after indicating that it was experiencing challenges with witnesses.

CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARDS

Sykes' rejection came after Queen's Counsel Valerie Neita-Robertson, who is representing Adams, told the court that her client has been in custody since 2014, while his co-accused are out on bail.

Sykes said that if the prosecution opposes Adams' bail, then the trial must begin next Monday.

He also said that constitutional standards must be upheld and observed.

"There are three grounds upon which bail can be denied. One of those principles is that if the person is granted bail, the risk that will arise is so great that conditions cannot cure them. I have to make that assumption," he said.

"If that is so, then the State has to get itself in a position to commence trial to the constitutional standard."

Meanwhile, Adams is also charged with the January 14, 2013, murder of Adif Washington at the May Pen Hospital, for which he is awaiting trial.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com