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Disclosure of coroner’s findings on drowned JDF soldier barred

Published:Friday | September 18, 2015 | 1:25 PMBarbara Gayle Justice Coordinator
Peter Bunting. The coroner’s inquest into his death has been going on for more than a year.

The Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, has issued a certificate barring the disclosure of the findings and recommendations of the Defence Board into the alleged drowning of Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) solider Keon Salmon.

The Board oversees the JDF.

Coroner Patrick Murphy, who is overseeing a coroner’s inquest into Salmon’s death, had requested that the Board handover the notes and findings of an internal probe conducted by the JDF in death of the Clarendon resident.

It was first reported that no internal probe was conducted by the JDF into Salmon’s death.

The coroner’s inquest into his death has been going on for more than a year.

However, information about an internal report came to light recently during the deposition of a JDF soldier.

The revelation prompted attorney-at-law Oswest Senior Smith, who is representing the family of the deceased, to ask for disclosure.

Attorney-at-law Walter Scott who is representing the Board, has subsequently disclosed a set of documents through the Secretary of the Defence Board, Retired Major General, Stewart Saunders, to the coroner.

It is reported that the set of documents contain statements of material witnesses of the circumstances into the alleged drowning.

It is likely that the coroner will call some of the persons who gave the statements, which are mostly soldiers, to appear before the enquiry to give evidence.

Senior Smith is expected to cross exam Retired Major General Saunders today.

Salmon drowned while swimming with a group of soldiers at the JDF Coast Guard in November 2012.

The inquest is being held to determine how Salmon died and if anyone is criminally responsible.