Man in custody for 8 years, case stalled again
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
A murder case in which a man has been in custody since 2007 could not be tried yesterday because a subpoena that was sent in a letter addressed to the commissioner of police on January 29 to be served on a retired inspector of police has not been done.
Supreme Court judge Carol Lawrence-Beswick expressed alarm that the court order was not carried out.
When 26-year-old Everald McCreath appeared in the Home Circuit Court for his trial the witness was not present.
The judge asked prosecutor Kathy Pyke to find out what happened to the subpoena which was issued for the witness to attend court yesterday. After checks were made Pyke disclosed that in response to an order from Senior Puisne Judge Gloria Smith, she wrote a letter dated January 28 to the Commissioner of Police and attached the subpoena to the letter. She said the letter was delivered at the Commissioner's Office on January 29.
Pyke said her investigations revealed that the subpoena was not sent to the relevant section in the commissioner's office until February 6. She said she was informed that that was not enough time to serve the subpoena on the retired police officer who was now residing in in St Mary.
"This is really unacceptable," Justice Lawrence-Beswick responded when she was informed the subpoena took one week to reach the relevant section.
Pyke pleaded with the judge to put off the case until next week Monday and not until Wednesday so as to give the police enough time to serve the subpoena. Pyke revealed that it was not the first time a subpoena was issued for the witness who was the investigating officer but he was reluctant to attend court. A subpoena was issued in January last year but Pyke said it was not served on the witness.
"A eight years now mi inna custody," McCreath repeated several times as he stood in the dock.
He is charged with the murder of 35-year-old mason Kirk Williams, of Port Antonio, Portland. Willams was shot dead on November 17, 2007. There is no eyewitness to the murder. The Crown is relying on a statement allegedly by given by Williams shortly before he died to the retired police officer who was the investigating officer, to prove its case.
Attorney-at-law Lloyd McFarlane, who is representing McCreath, said he has been representing him since 2012 and so far there have been 13 trial dates. He said the investigating officer has never attended court. He said McCreath was frustrated with the frequent adjournments and has voiced his disapproval each time he attend court.
McCrath was remanded to return to court next week Monday when it is expected his trial will commence.