Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Lawyers’ absence delays Kamoza Clarke case again

Published:Monday | August 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas

WESTERN BUREAU:

The absence of two of the defence attorneys for the five policemen implicated in the 2013 death of Kamoza Clarke resulted in the highly anticipated ruling on the defendants' fate being deferred until September 8, when they appeared before the Trelawny Parish Court in Falmouth last week.

Sergeant Derrick Henry and district constables Alwayne Eccleston, Onecko Brown, Desmond Lawrence and Tristan Turner had their bail extended by presiding parish judge Ruth Lawrence, after Turner's attorney, Thomas Levine, requested the new court date to accommodate attorneys Oswest Senior-Smith and Ronald Parris, who were unable to attend last week's proceedings.

Judge Lawrence had been expected to make a ruling on the submission of document bundles which had previously been submitted to the court.

The ruling would have determined whether the case would be sent to the Trelawny Circuit Court, or if the charges against the five defendants would be altered.

The case had experienced at least one previous delay due to the absence of defence attorney Parris on a date in May.

Thirty-one-year-old Kamoza Clarke, who lived at Bunkers' Hill in Trelawny and was mentally challenged, was beaten into a vegetative state on October 20, 2013, while in custody at the Falmouth Police Station on a charge of malicious destruction of property. He died four months later, on February 25, 2014, while in intensive care at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.

Henry, Eccleston, and Brown were later charged with murder, while Lawrence and Turner were charged with neglect of duty.

Clarke's beating and subsequent death sparked outrage from human-rights advocates, including the Families Against State Terrorism and Amnesty International.