Fri | May 26, 2017

Cop in Armadale fire case freed of charges

Published:Tuesday | August 25, 2015 | 8:18 AM

The police constable who was slapped with multiple charges in relation to the May 2009 fire at the Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre for Girls has been freed of the charges.

Constable Lawrence Burrell was charged in 2010 with administering a noxious thing with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy as well as 14 counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The charges followed a commission of enquiry which found that the fire was caused by a tear-gas canister thrown by the Alexandria constable.

Seven girls lost their lives and others were wounded in the fire at the St Ann-based facility, which forced Jamaica's treatment of persons in state care under the microscope.

When the case was mentioned yesterday in the St Ann Resident Magistrate’s Court, the crown conceded that it could not establish any legal connection between the policeman and the incident at the Armadale home.

The crown conceded that it could not prove that the policeman lobbied for the canister to be thrown into the room.

It was also agreed that he was not pointed out at any identification parade.

Following the concession by the crown, Resident Magistrate, Dale Palmer freed him.

Burrell was represented by attorney-at-law Oswest Senior Smith.