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Defence lawyer calls for review of Coroner's Court operations

Published:Thursday | November 19, 2015 | 11:28 AM
Peter Champagnie represented three policemen who were freed of the murder charges brought against them last month following a ruling of the Coroner's Court.

 Defence lawyer, Peter Champagnie, says yesterday's disposal of a murder case that took 14 years to reach the courts highlights the need for a review of the operations of the Coroner's Court. 

Champagnie represented three policemen who were freed of the murder charges brought against them last month following a ruling of the Coroner's Court. 

Justice Vinette Graham Allen instructed the 12-member jury to return a not-guilty verdict in favour of the three cops and an ex-policeman, after the prosecution said it had no further evidence to offer. 

Champagnie told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre that the case can be used to argue for a review and audit of the types of matters that go before the Coroner's Court. 

He also says there needs to be an examination of the length of time cases take at the court and the method used to place cases before the court.  

The lawyer argues that the case involving the cops was before the court since 2003 with little evidence. 

However, he says despite this, the case was still placed before the Home Circuit Court for trial, 12 years later. 

Last month the Coroner's Court ruled that the serving cops and the ex-policeman be charged with murder arising from the shooting death of two brothers on March 10, 2001 at a house on Whitehall Avenue in St Andrew.

Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, agrees that a review is needed of the Coroner’s Court.

Llewellyn says the court has challenges and the relevant authorities must look at ways in which it can be improved.

She says it is unfortunate that it took 14 years for the case against the policemen to make it to the circuit court.