Prelim for cops in Mario Deane case deferred to September
The absence of a number of witnesses who were slated to figure in the preliminary examination of three cops facing multiple charges arising from last August's beating death of Mario Deane has forced the matter to be deferred until September 28.
Corporal Elaine Stewart and district constables Juliana Clevon and Marlon Grant, who are charged with manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, and perverting the course of justice, were given the new court date and had their bails extended when they appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Although their preliminary examination was to have begun yesterday, Clerk of the Court Reginald England told presiding magistrate Sandria Wong-Small that one of the prosecution witnesses was not competent enough to give evidence due to mental challenges, and another witness could not be located.
"In this matter, the prosecution takes the view that one of the witnesses will not be competent enough to give evidence at this time. His behavioural pattern is unpredictable, and his behaviour is described as deteriorating, or getting worse," said England.
"Whatever date the matter is set for, I expect that the witnesses who are needed to make a prima facie (presentation of sufficient evidence) case will be here and we can make a start," Wong-Small replied.
BEATEN IN CUSTODY
The three police personnel were charged after Mario Deane, a 31-year-old construction worker, died in hospital on August 6 last year after sustaining injuries from a beating he received three days earlier while in custody at the Barnett Street Police Station.
It is alleged that the three police personnel were on duty at the time when Deane was denied bail and placed in the cell, where he was later beaten.
Deane had been held for possessing a ganja spliff.
It is further alleged that Stewart gave instructions for the cell where Deane was beaten to be cleaned before the arrival of investigators from the Independent Commission of Investigations.