Tue | May 23, 2017

Lawyers in police killing case to arrive next Tuesday

Published:Saturday | March 6, 2010 | 3:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Representatives of the Interna-tional Human Rights Law Clinic in Washington, DC, will be arriving in the island next week to take on the case of Jeremy Smith, who was killed by the police in 2002 under questionable circumstances.

Howard Schneider and Morgan Alen are scheduled to arrive in the island next Tuesday to familiarise themselves with the case.

Yvonne McCalla Sobers, convenor of Families Against State Terrorism (FAST), told
The Gleaner
that Schneider and Alen would be taking the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) later this month.

"Predictably, no one has been held criminally liable for the killing," McCalla Sobers said.

Alen told
The Gleaner
from offices in the United States that the case would be heard on March 22, as both sides had already briefed the court.

'Unarmed'

According to Alen, those petitioning the IACHR on behalf of Smith are contending that Smith was unarmed when he was killed by the police.

Alen contended that Smith's family did not have the benefit of representation during a coroner's inquest into his death.

This, according to Alen, prevented charges from being laid on the policemen allegedly involved in the incident. "This constituted a violation of Smith's right to life and that of his family for judicial protection," Alen said.

Documents from the IACHR claimed that a petition alleges a violation of Jeremy Smith's right to life under Article 4 and of his and his family's right to judicial protection, under Article 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights (the American Convention) in relation to Article 1(1) based on allegations that excessive, disproportionate and unwarranted force was used by state agents against Smith.

Failed to prosecute

It also contended that the State failed to undertake an effective investigation into the circumstances of his death, and that it failed to prosecute the police agents responsible.

The State alleges that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the police officers involved in Smith's death on the basis that the officers were acting in self-defence when Jeremy Smith and others allegedly opened fire on the officers conducting a police operation in the area.

The State claims that the petition is inadmissible because domestic remedies were not exhausted as required by the American Convention, and that it does not fall under the exceptions specified in Article 46(2).

After analysing the facts presented, the commission declared the petition admissible.