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Gov’t saddened by death of St James man beaten in police custody

Published:Thursday | August 7, 2014 | 2:34 PM
Mario Deane, of Rosemount, in Montego Bay, while he battled for his life at the Cornwall Regional Hospital.-Contributed

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Justice Minister, Mark Golding, and National Security Minister Peter Bunting have expressed sadness at the death of St James construction worker, Mario Deane, who died yesterday after being beaten in police custody.

Deane had been arrested three days earlier at the Barnett Street police station for a ganja spliff.

In a release this afternoon, Golding said the tragedy underscores the need for Jamaica to decriminalize the smoking and possession of small quantities of ganja.

The required legislation to address this issue is currently being drafted.

In the meantime, Golding says he Bunting, are in discussions with the Attorney General to see whether a policy direction can be implemented to prevent a repeat of the circumstances that led to Deane’s death.

They want to see whether the law allows for the police to proceed by way of summons rather than by way of arrest and detention when someone is held with small quantities of ganja.

"This would be consistent with the stated policy direction of the government and help to address the issue of overcrowding in our lockups, while reducing the administrative burden to deal with these cases," said Bunting in a separate statement.

Bunting also said Deane's death was unnecessary.

Meanwhile, he has requested that the Acting Police Commissioner Glenmore Hinds immediately examine the arrangements for supervising detainees, to ensure their safety.

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