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Lawyer goes overseas during trial, leaves judge in shock

Published:Monday | December 7, 2015 | 12:39 PMBarbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

High court judge Gloria Smith was left shocked today after news came that the lawyer representing one of two men in a murder trial has left the island in the middle of the case because of a reported emergency. 

The lawyer, Donald Bryan, was representing, 22-year-old Arthur Robinson, a co-accused in the murder of 74-year-old returning resident Florist Clarke of Watt Town, St Ann.

The trial entered its fifth week in the Home Circuit Court today and the news that the accused man will have to get a new  lawyer to represent him could be a big blow to the trial. 

The court received a report today that attorney-at-law Donald Bryan is dealing with an emergency overseas and will not be able to return to Jamaica until next week.

When Justice Smith queried what type of emergency it was, attorney-at-law Fabian Campbell said he did not know as he only got a phone call from Bryan this morning to give a message to the court. 

He added that Bryan disclosed to him that he was trying to get a certain lawyer on the weekend to assist in the case but was not successful.

Justice Smith noting that she was at a loss, said she had never heard anything like this in her career. 

An adjournment was granted for about an hour to ascertain what could be done to solve the problem.

On resumption, Campbell said he had contacted the executive director of the Legal Aid Council attorney-at-law, Hugh Faulkner, who said he would try to get a lawyer to take over the case.

Attorney-at-law Oswest Senior Smith who is representing Bertram Clarke, the man accused of killing his wife, told the court that it was out of character for Bryan not to turn up in court.

Justice Smith told the 12-member jury that she could not continue the trial because she had to abide by Robinson's constitutional rights.

She pointed out that he must be given the opportunity to be represented by counsel of his choice.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday when the judge said a determination would be made on the way forward.

The deceased  who lived in England for many years was found at her home in Watt Town, St Ann on October 27, 2007 with her head bashed in and throat slashed.

The Crown is alleging that the husband plotted with two boys from the Brown's Town High School in St Ann to carry out the murder.