Letter of the Day: Don Creary charge delay unfathomable, unacceptable
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am stunned at the explanation given by the head of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Enid Ross-Stewart, for the protracted delay of 18 months before charging Don Creary for the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.
The online Gleaner article 'Why it took 18 months to charge Don Creary with rape' (September 14, 2015) reported that the explanation given by Ross-Stewart for the lengthy delay was that the investigations had to take place in St Mary, where the incident allegedly originated and, additionally, in St Andrew.
I cannot fathom how a learned magistrate could accept that as a reasonable explanation in the context of a child being allegedly sexually assaulted and, undoubtedly, traumatised by an alleged perpetrator, knowing how the police are oftentimes slack, ineffective and inefficient in addressing our general crime situation.
Creary, like everyone else, is presumed innocent until proven guilty, which is one of the established standards of our justice system, and we respect his right to a fair hearing. That, however, does not preclude the implications that the State's lengthy delay may have for the victim in conducting its probe for a serious crime such as rape, especially against a child.
A statement was, reportedly, initially given to the police in March 2014 and, presumably, investigations were started in the parishes of St Mary and St Andrew. It was one week after a further statement was given on September 3, 2015, that the charges were laid against Creary by CISOCA. There is a glaring disparity between March 2014 and September 2015.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force is notorious for conducting sloppy investigations as a result of the incompetence and misguidance of some of its members. What if the complainant had died? What would be the productive outcome of taking 18 months before bringing the accused before the courts with the probable cause for a judge to determine whether there was a case for him to answer?
What would be the explanation given by CISOCA had an accused, who may very well be a perpetrator, in such a circumstance, fled the country? In whose interest would justice be served?
Ross-Stewart was reported as saying that there was nothing untoward in the course of the investigation. I am suggesting that unless there were allegations made by the complainant at the onset, without more, and for which no charges could be laid, presumably because of a lack of probable cause, then there was something untoward and questionable about the investigations.