Charges against CPJ directors dropped
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The two directors of Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited (CPJ) who were charged with the importation of prohibited carcasses have been freed.
Chairman Mark Hart and Tom Tyler said they were disappointed that it took two years and nine months before the charges against them were dropped. No evidence was offered against them when they appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on December 12.
The company is facing similar charges and the trial is to start on May 15 next year. It is being alleged that the company imported cow head, which is not sanctioned by the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Hart and Tyler, who were represented by attorney-at-law Deborah Martin, have described the process by which they had been charged as improper. They said "it indicates" that no investigation was carried out leading to the charges against them. The men said their reputations were damaged because the case was widely publicised both locally and internationally.
They have complained about the long time it took for them to be exonerated. The former accused said the case against them dragged on for nearly three years and they appeared before the court 10 times before they were told that the charges were not being pursued. They said they had carried out internal investigations in relation to the company and would vigourously defend the charges.
Commenting on the justice system, the CPJ directors said there was great need for improvement because it should not have taken such a long time for them to be exonerated. The directors said there were tremendous costs involved both in legal fees and their time.