Defending AJ on Qatar prisoner saga
THE EDITOR, Sir:
So Minister A.J. Nicholson asked a pointed question ("Who is this man? Is he a king?"), to which some people who consider the question to be unfortunate have taken him to task. That, of course, is their right.
But, who really is this man, Paul Stephens, who has commanded so much newspaper column inches and prime time on radio and TV? Does Jamaica not deserve to know?
It has been shouted about by his connections, and by the Opposition, that he has been incarcerated "without evidence". Is that true?
The facts are that this adult Jamaican was arrested, tried and convicted for sexually molesting a minor who was left in his care by her mother; tried and convicted upon his own signed CONFESSION. He did not claim that his signature on the confession was a forgery and his appeals to two higher courts were roundly rejected.
The opposition spokesman says that he has been "pardoned". Now we hear that no such thing has taken place; he has simply served his full sentence of five years, with 15 months remission. In any event, does the spokesman not appreciate that a pardon speaks to, and presumes, an admission of guilty conduct in the first place?
His connections and the Opposition have in essence labelled the justice system in a friendly country as corrupt and pressed the foreign minister to himself seek a pardon for a confessed, convicted sexual child molester, in spite of what is taking place in our own country on that same score.
I wish to heartily congratulate the minister and the prime minister for doing no such thing. I wish I could also congratulate the media in Jamaica and Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition for the manner in which they have approached and handled this matter, which has once again proved to be another stain on Brand Jamaica. Remember Manatt?
Indeed, who is this man? Will the Opposition, even if not his connections, apologise to Jamaica and to our friendly international partner?
PHILIP MASCOLL (OD)