Wed | Dec 11, 2019

Constitutional Court hearing challenge to immunity certificates in Keith Clarke case

Published:Wednesday | November 13, 2019 | 2:15 PM
File photo

An attorney for the widow of slain businessman Keith Clarke has argued that the certificates issued to three soldiers shielding them from criminal prosecution are void because they “conflict with the Constitution.”

That assertion was made this morning by Dr Lloyd Barnett as the Constitutional Court began hearing a challenge by Clarke’s widow to the use of the certificates of immunity earlier this year to halt the murder trial of the three soldiers.

In April, Paul Beswick, one of the criminal defence attorneys for the soldiers — Greg Tinglin, Arnold Henry and Odel Buckley —  revealed in the Home Circuit Court that the certificates were signed in 2016 by National Security Minister at the time Peter Bunting.

It came six years after Clarke was shot 21 times inside his Kirkland Heights, St Andrew house during a joint police-military operation aimed at capturing then fugitive drug kingpin Christopher ’Dudus’ Coke.

Noting that the certificates were presented as “instruments of immunity” to bar the circuit court from carrying out its function, Barnett said the issue for the Constitutional Court to determine is whether a “ministerial certificate” can be used to influence or interrupt the exercise of the court’s judicial function.

He argued that any action which seeks to deprive the court of its normal jurisdiction can only be taken by constitutional amendment.

The Independent Commission of Investigation and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions have joined Clarke’s widow as interested parties in the case.

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