First witness accused of not speaking the truth
WEST KINGSTON COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Jermaine McLeod, the first witness at the 2014 commission of enquiry into the police-military operation in Tivoli Gardens, yesterday admitted that he did not tender in the first of two statements, dated June 30, 2010, that an army truck had driven over his hand.
In cross-examination by Linton Gordon, the attorney representing the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), McLeod conceded that it was not until November 2013 that he made such a claim in his second witness statement, after Gordon elicited an admission from McLeod that he had tendered two witness statements.
McLeod, however, said he had not included the claim in the first statement because he was instructed by the interviewer not to do so.
Said Gordon: "I am suggesting to you that what you said is not true ... you are not speaking the truth when you said soldiers ill-treated you."
McLeod disagreed, but Gordon also pointed out that, at one stage, the witness said a crippled woman was seen running from a burning building.
Gordon also elicited an admission from McLeod that he was deported from Canada and does not pay income tax, general consumption tax, education tax or electricity bills as the owner of a game shop.
However, Michael Lorne, who represents the people of Tivoli, accused Gordon of seeking to embarrass McLeod. "Does that mean that because he does not pay, that precludes him from being beaten by soldiers?" Lorne asked.
While apologising for any embarrassment his questions may have caused, Gordon quizzed about receipts and the value of jewels and other things among the losses McLeod said he incurred during the operation.
Earlier, Deborah Martin, the attorney representing the Jamaica Constabulary Force, wrestled long and hard with McLeod, who accused members of the security forces of battering him when they went in search of then-fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
McLeod stood his ground as he was quizzed by Martin on a range of happenings in Tivoli Gardens in the lead-up to the bombardment of May 24-26, 2010.
He said he knew nothing of barricades being erected while he was in the area and only heard about the extradition request for Coke on the news.
McLeod, who said he returned from the United States to reside in Tivoli Gardens in 2008, claimed to have minded his own business until the police and soldiers stormed the area.
Responding to Martin, McLeod said after being beaten by members of the security forces, he was detained at Up Park Camp before being allowed to return to Tivoli Gardens three days later.