Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Witter's attack on acting public defender unwarranted - Henry

Published:Tuesday | December 30, 2014 | 2:04 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Public affairs analyst, Martin Henry, says former Public Defender Earl Witter’s attack on Matondo Mukulu, who has been acting in the role, is unwarranted and raises questions about Witter’s own judgement.

Mukulu was appointed to act in the position following a recommendation by Witter who retired in April.

It emerged yesterday that Witter had written to Mukulu apologising for recommending him to the post.

That December letter was reportedly copied to the Governor General and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

But Henry says Witter’s intervention was improper and irregular.

He says having retired, Witter should have remained silent as his public comments bring into question his judgement in making the initial recommendation.

Witter reportedly said Mukulu was too young and inexperienced.

He also accused the acting public defender of waging an ‘unbecoming campaign’ to be appointed to the post.

Last week, Mukulu told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre that he was not chosen for appointment to the post by the Public Service Commission.

The only other contender was human rights advocate and lawyer, Arlene Harrison Henry.

Mr Henry says there is no need for the Public Service Commission to make a public statement on whether the letter influenced its decision.

Young Jamaica, the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP’s youth arm says it's worth questioning whether Witter is envious of Mukulu’s achievements.

Leading up to his retirement, Witter was criticised for the numerous delays in submitting a report on the 2010 police-military operation in West Kingston.

It was also revealed that under Witter's tenure, the office closed less than half the number of cases opened.

READ: Less than 40% of cases closed by Public Defender's Office over six-year period

Since acting in the post, Mukulu appeared to have enjoyed positive public perception.

WATCH: Acting Public Defender affirms, admits apologises

He has also turned the spotlight on various issues that were not usually considered by the office including prisoners’ rights, disability and environmental issues.

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