Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Questions raised about police action in Dudus capture

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Christopher 'Dudus' Coke

THE ATTORNEY for the Reverend Merrick 'Al' Miller has argued that there are numerous unanswered questions about the actions of the police on the day drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke was captured with the popular clergyman.

Citing evidence by the police that Miller led them on a high-speed chase and twice ignored their attempts to stop his vehicle, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown said this account begs the question: Why was her client not arrested at the scene?

Samuels-Brown also questioned why Miller, pastor of the Fellowship Tabernacle Church in St Andrew, was not prosecuted for speeding, disobeying an order of the police or any other breaches of the Road Traffic Act.

"How comes he was only invited to the police station the day after he helped them capture the nation's most wanted man?" the attorney asked as she made a no-case submission in the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Monday to have the corruption charge against Miller dismissed.

unanswered questions

"These are questions for which answers have not been provided," she underscored as she sought to convince presiding magistrate Simone Wolfe-Reece.

The clergyman has maintained that he was taking Coke to surrender to authorities at the United States Embassy in Kingston and that local law enforcement officials were, at all times, aware of his actions and his attorney insisted that there is no evidence that he took any steps to "prevent or avoid prosecution of Coke".

"The act of transporting Coke is a neutral act. Something else would have to come into play to colour it [to make it an offence]," Samuels-Brown argued.

However, prosecutor Larone Montaque-Williams, in her response, described that assertion as irrelevant, noting that the indictment speaks to Miller's "action of evading the police".

"He [Miller] had one goal and that was to help take Coke to the [US] Embassy. Even if you accept that, it was still an action of attempting to pervert the course of justice," Montaque-Williams insisted.

questionable actions

At the time Coke was captured in a sports utility vehicle along Mandela Highway in St Catherine, he was wanted in the US on drug and firearm charges. He was on the run for a month after he managed to elude a massive police-military operation in his Tivoli Gardens stronghold in which more than 70 civilians were killed.

Montaque-Williams argued that Miller's conduct on that day was part of a series of actions, which goes to the centre of the allegations against him.

"The actions that Mr Miller embarked upon started in St Ann and continued in Spanish Town [St Catherine] when attempts were made [by the police] to stop the vehicle he was driving," Montaque-Williams argued as she sought to convince the magistrate to allow the case to go forward.

Wolfe-Reece has indicated that she will give her ruling on June 5 when the trial is schedule to resume.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com