Fri | Sep 30, 2016

Reject vigilante extradition

Published:Sunday | March 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

The call by many is for the Government to proceed with the extradition of Christopher Coke, despite the laws of Jamaica superseding the extradition treaty with the USA. To this I contend that the legal position is that any action must be within the context of the fair judicial systems of the USA and Jamaica.

If the evidence is based on illegal wiretaps, the courts of both jurisdictions will reject it. So even if the attorney general signs off on this aspect of the case, paving the way for the extradition request to proceed to the courts, at pretrial the wiretaps will be thrown out. My advice to the USA and those collaborating locals was to use the information garnered to entrap Mr Coke, making a better case, rather than to proceed with the 'vigilante' justice that so many are clamouring for.

My referring to this as rail-roading/vigilante justice and the method used against Jesus was called 'unfortunate' by the Rev Dr Devon Dick in his column of March 11. Since we are near Easter, it is opportune that I explain this aspect of the Easter message. John 11:49-50 "Then ... Caiaphas ... spoke up, 'You know nothing at all! You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish'." The history is that the high priest spoke out of fear (of Roman reprisal), jealousy (Jesus attracted more audiences), self-interest (to preserve his position) and rotten conniving. Of course, despite the politics, Jesus' mission would be fulfilled.

Corrupt justice system

Now, the Roman occupation of Palestine happened under the pax Romana or 'peace of Rome', a corrupt two-tiered justice system in which Roman citizens and the rich were privileged to purchase their justice at the high courts. But the disenfranchised had to succumb to an unfair system similar to the vigilante justice of the Wild West. This was the fate of Jesus who was arrested, tried and crucified in less than 24 hours because "One man [should] die for the people [rather] than that the whole nation perish." This system was fraught with corruption.

I trust that, based on the above, and despite our varied prejudices and politics, more of us can be objective about this case.

I take the position of the Government, and our many learned attorneys, not because of politics but because of principle. Vigilante justice may win, but even then it is not right.

I am, etc.,


Kingston 9