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Latest victim of fabricated evidence to sue the State

Published:Sunday | September 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Bert Samuels

Judge, lawyers and others lash out at dishonest cops who cook up evidence to seek convictions

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

A man who was acquitted of ammunition charges in the Gun Court last week, following the revelation that the police had fabricated evidence against him, is now taking steps to file a lawsuit against the State.

Bert Samuels, one of the lawyers who represented 25-year-old David Clarke, is calling on the new Commissioner of Police Dr Carl Williams to warn members of the force to desist from manufacturing evidence.

"If you don't have a case don't manufacture one," declared Samuels, as he expressed his disappointment with what he described as a frequent practice by some cops.

According to Samuels, the manufacturing of evidence by some policemen was the main reason the justice system was so clogged up with many young men languishing in custody.

He said Clarke is now in the process of filing a lawsuit against the Government and the policemen involved, seeking damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution and breach of his constitutional right to liberty, freedom and due process.

According to Samuels, even after Justice Leighton Pusey freed Clarke at approximately 10:45 a.m. on September 9 in the Gun Court, the police, in defiance of the judge's order, shackled him as he left the dock.

Samuels said the excuse given by the police was that Clarke had to be processed. Clarke had to remain in custody until 4 p.m. before he was released.

"The liberty of a citizen cannot be subject to such gross police bureaucracy," said Samuels, as he warned that the manner in which Clarke was treated after his acquittal will give rise to an additional false imprisonment claim.

False statements

The prosecution offered no evidence against Clarke, who is also called 'Bigga', of Riverton City, Kingston, after investigations by the defence lawyers revealed that two policemen had given false statements. Clarke had been charged with illegal possession of 14 rounds of ammunition.

Attorney-at-law Michael Howell, who also represented Clarke, pointed out that he had been locked up for five weeks before he received bail.

"I want the police to be conscious of the fact that when they do things like framing a person that it has a long-term effect on the accused and his family," said Howell.

Howell said Clarke could not function or lead a productive life because he had the charge hanging over his head, even though he was adamant that the police had framed him.

The court had been told by the police that Clarke was searched on September 15, 2011 and a magazine containing 14 rounds of ammunition was found in his trousers pocket.

However, a member of the Jamaica Defence Force who was on patrol with the police submitted a statement to the director of public prosecutions (DPP) which contradicted the allegations by police.

In freeing Clarke, the judge suggested that the matter should be referred to the Independent Commission of Investigations. The judge also queried whether the DPP was going to take any action against the policemen.