Tue | May 26, 2020

‘Incompetence’…Sykes bashes JCF after gang trial forced to adjourn

Published:Wednesday | January 15, 2020 | 12:00 AM
File photo

Nickoy Wilson, Gleaner Writer

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has criticised the Jamaica Constabulary Force for failing to assign one of its members to stand guard at the remote location where a Crown witness is testifying via link, forcing the adjournment of a gang trial.

“This is really incompetence of the highest order. I have to call it what it is,” Sykes said today at the trial of alleged members of the Westmoreland-based King Valley gang, which began yesterday.

Sykes made the remarks after a prosecutor told the court that it would take no more than one hour for a policeman to get to the location.

The information came after Sykes asked about the whereabouts of the policeman.

“It is now being said it may take 60 minutes. This is not inefficiency. This is incompetence,” Sykes said.

Court hearings are scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m.

“So the lawyers who are here, I imagine they have things to do. Their time is valuable….So I really don’t propose waiting here for this possibility to arise,” the chief justice said.

He added, “This is incompetence. This is disrespectful and shows the level of regard that the police force has for the Supreme Court, which is none.”

“The same level of inefficiency day in, day out, year in, year out…Same issues every single day. How can we have the same problem for 30 years?” he asked, noting that he has been involved in the justice system for three decades.

Alleged gangsters - Rannaldo McKennis, Christon Grant, Carlington Godfrey, Lindell Powell, Derval Williams, Hopeton Stanley, Copeland Sankey and Sean Suckra - are on trial for various breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) 2014 Act, commonly called the anti-gang legislation, in relation to crimes committed between 2016 and 2018.

The trial will continue tomorrow.

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