Sun | Jun 16, 2019

Balancing justice, how?

Published:Thursday | October 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM


In response to the Gleaner article 'Kinda Cruel' - Court orders Patrick Powell to pay family of Khajeel Mais $2m', I guess the law is a very funny institution.

I do understand that a person's failure to answer to charges brought against him in a court of law may lead to a default judgment being granted to the plaintiff. But I cannot for the life of me comprehend how it is that the murder trial of the accused killer of a young man full of promise fell through, and yet, in juxtaposition, there was a basis for a successful lawsuit against the accused.

From my perspective, there's no balancing of the scales in this matter. This type of justice system has some gaping loopholes that do not engender confidence in the judiciary's ability to represent the Jamaican people and to plead the cause of the oppressed. Simply put, if there's no case against Mr Powell, then justice should not require him to pay $2 million for the lawsuit. Likewise, if there is a case for a successful lawsuit against him, then justice should utilise the evidence which substantiated the settlement to make him liable to the charges of murder.

I am not a student of the law and may be missing some classical legal explanation of this judgment. If I am, I do hope that some learned mind will enlighten me on how this thing works. Meanwhile, Amos' words resonate in my ears brand new: "But let justice run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream" (Amos 5:24, NKJV).

Given my chagrin, I can only conclude with a popular Jamaican proverb: "Donkey say worl' no level!"

Pastor J. Fitzroy Johnson