That could have been me, says teary-eyed Bishop Blair after Al Miller's sentencing
Moments after Parish Judge Simone Wolfe Reece declared that she would not be sending convicted pastor Reverend Al Miller to prison, another clergyman, Herro Blair, wiped tears from his eyes.
Blair was among the people who packed the courtroom at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court for Miller's sentencing, almost two months after he was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
"I felt that could have been me," Blair told The Gleaner outside the court after Wolfe Reece said instead of a custodial sentence, she was imposing a fine of $1 million or 12 months in prison.
IN PHOTO: Rev Al Miller arrives for court ahead of his sentencing.
Miller's conviction arose from an incident in 2010 when then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke was found travelling in his vehicle along the Mandela Highway in St Catherine.
The pastor claimed he was taking Coke to the United States Embassy to surrender to American authorities.
“I had, literally first option to take him in,” Blair continued.
“The same request that Reverend Miller received I received. I preceded him into Tivoli Gardens. I went there twice and had the same audience with the gentleman who was on extradition orders,” he said.
Pastors often accompany wanted men to the authorities.
However, the Jamaica Constabulary Force maintained that Coke was a fugitive and that at no time was it informed of any plan for Miller to accompany him to the embassy.
Before passing sentence, Wolfe Reece cautioned Miller not to believe that he “stands above the law” because of the work he has done before, telling the packed courtroom she did not think a custodial sentence was appropriate.
– Livern Barrett