Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Mario Deane trial hits another obstacle

Published:Wednesday | March 22, 2017 | 3:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Deane

Western Bureau:

Damion Cargill, one of the three inmates charged with murder arising from the 2013 death of Mario Deane, who succumbed to injuries sustained while in custody at the lock-up at the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St James, has been declared unfit to plead or to stand trial.

The verdict was given by a seven-member jury following a hearing to determine Cargill's fitness to plead to the charge, when he and his co-defendants, Marvin Orr and Adrian Morgan, made their most recent appearance in the St James Circuit Court on Monday.

Prior to the jury delivering its verdict, the court heard testimony from two psychiatrists, Dr Clayton Sewell and Dr Myo Kyaw Oo, who had treated Cargill for psychological issues. Both doctors said Cargill, who is also a deaf mute, would not have the mental capacity to understand the charge or be able to adequately communicate with his lawyers, if he is committed to stand trial.

In his evidence-in-chief, Sewell testified that when he first met Cargill in August 2014, the defendant, whose medical history was brought to his attention, had mental and physical issues.

"He appeared to be deaf and was unable to verbalise sufficiently," said Dr Sewell. "Based on the history I received from his relatives and the Cornwall Regional Hospital, I felt he had a mental illness, specifically schizophrenia."

Presiding High Court justice Vivienne Harris asked the doctor: "Do you believe he has the capacity to challenge a juror [during juror selection] or to advise his lawyer?"

Sewell replied: "I don't think he has the capacity to do that."

... Doctor: 'I am not convinced he can understand the charge'

In court testimony Monday, Dr Myo Kyaw Oo, who had some 10 sessions of consultation with Damion Cargill in 2014, said he lacks the ability to properly communicate.

Cargill is one of the three inmates charged with murder arising from the 2013 death of Mario Deane, who succumbed to injuries sustained while in custody at the lock-up at the Barnett Street Police Station in Montego Bay, St James.

"My impression was that [Cargill] has a barrier of communication, and I needed an interpreter from his family who could communicate with him very well. It was a speech defect, and I could not understand what he said to me... I am not convinced he can understand the charge," the doctor said.

"Would he be able to follow the evidence in a trial?" presiding High Court justice Vivienne Harris asked Kyaw Oo.

"In this case, he would not be able to do so," answered the doctor.

Cargill is set to return to court on April 5, at which time it will be decided where he will be sent to receive further treatment. His co-defendants, Marvin Orr and Adrian Morgan, who are being tried separately from Cargill, will receive a trial date when they return to court, also on April 5.

Orr, Morgan and Cargill are accused of beating Mario Deane while they were all in custody at the Barnett Street Police Station on August 3, 2014. Deane died at the Cornwall Regional Hospital three days later. Three police personnel are also facing charges in connection with the incident.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com