Tue | May 21, 2019

Why didn't Bunting allow law to take course?

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM


Clarification is necessary on whether Peter Bunting, the then national security minister, was authorised to issue or sign any such certificate. Assuming there had been a coroner's inquest into the killing of Keith Clarke, and such an inquest found that the three soldiers who stand accused of his murder were responsible for his death, what are the implications in view of the so-called indemnity granted?

Would any party guilty of murder in this context be made to answer before the courts? And if the said three soldiers currently charged with murder had been issued with indemnity certificates, would the murder charges then be dropped?

My first observation relates to Mr Bunting's claim that the indemnity of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers was based on an application from the JDF that a certificate had been signed by him. If this is so, it appears that the JDF would have successfully sought to undermine the principles according to which its soldiers are trained with respect to internal security operations.

I recall that there are three major principles: minimum force, justification, and acting within the law. Justification requires soldiers to show restraint in the execution of all their duties and to be able to provide justification for the same when called upon to do so.

Finally, I am sure that Mr Bunting is well aware that an unlawful act, albeit backed by a good motive or performed in good faith, does not negate the original unlawful act but may very well serve in mitigation. Why not allow the law to take its course?