Sat | Apr 21, 2018

Keith Clarke murder trial again pushed back, judge peeved

Published:Monday | September 19, 2016 | 11:32 AM

 Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The murder trial of the three Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers charged with killing businessman Keith Clarke failed to get underway this morning.

‎It is now set for February 6 next year.

The trial was stalled after lead attorney for the three soldiers, Valerie Neita Robertson, indicated in the Home Circuit Court that she is involved in an eight-year-old case that was also scheduled to start today.

In addition, Neita Robertson told the court that she has just been brought in to represent the soldiers, but says she is up to date with the details of the case.

The presiding judge, Justice Gloria Smith, referred to the long outstanding  case as "ancient vintage" while noting that she was hoping it would have started today.

"This matter was set (for trial) from as far back as March. So I thought all was in place for this matter to start," Smith said.

"It has been a long outstanding matter that has been on the (court) list for a long time," she added.

Lance corporals Greg Tinglin and Odel Buckley and private Arnold Henry are charged with Clarke’s murder.

They are on bail.
Image result for keith clarke jamaica gleaner
IN PHOTO: Keith Clarke

Prosecutors Paula Llewellyn and Yanique Gardener Brown indicated that they are ready to commence the trial.

According to Llewellyn, the Crown will be relying on 16 witnesses, 12 of whom are serving or retired members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Neita Robertson sought to assurance that there would be no further delay with the trial.

Clarke was killed allegedly by soldiers inside his East Kirkland Heights home, St Andrew in 2010 during the search for then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

The post mortem showed that he had some 20 bullet wounds, most of which were to the back.

Members of the army had gone to the house based on intelligence that Coke was hiding out there.