Nagra Plunkett, Assignment Coordinator
Lawyer labels detention of Cornwall College students as excessive
A Montego Bay, St James-based attorney has labelled as "excessive" the decision of the police to arrest an entire class of grade-10 boys at Cornwall College, over a missing school bag.
"I don't see where the police have done anything wrong as they can arrest anyone that they suspect has committed an arrestable offence," attorney Nicole Allen acknowledged. "I just think this is a poor handling of the situation."
Information is that the police were called to the all-boy institution by a school resource officer (SRO) after a student reported that his JanSport backpack with his books and house keys had gone missing.
The SRO reportedly requested assistance from his colleagues after no information was forthcoming from the boy's classmates.
The Gleaner understands that the boys were subsequently transported to the Montego Freeport Police Station. A policeman confirmed seeing "about 15 schoolboys standing in a passage", but was unaware of their business at the station.
However, Allen cautioned that if the boys are under 18 years old, investigators were not authorised to take statements or conduct question-and-answer sessions without their parents being present.
"The court that will have jurisdiction, once they're under 18, is the Family Court, and they can't appear before a judge without their parent or guardian," she noted.
"All of this, in my view, seems a bit excessive … . You can't treat children like that."
Several efforts to contact Cornwall College's headmaster Denham McIntyre, via telephone, proved futile.