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Coroner's Court wants JDF to handover info on death of solider

Published:Thursday | September 3, 2015 | 8:12 AM

A Coroner’s Court has ordered the Defence Board, which oversees the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), to release the notes and findings of an internal investigation into the death of JDF solider Keon Salmon.

The board’s secretary, Major General Stewart Saunders, has been summoned by Coroner Patrick Murphy to appear before the inquest.

The Clarendon resident drowned while swimming with a group of soldiers at the JDF Coast Guard in November 2012.

The inquest is being held to determine how Salmon died and if anyone is criminally responsible.

It was first reported that no internal probe was conducted by the JDF into Salmon’s death.

The coroner’s inquest into his death has been going on for more than a year.

Information about an internal report conducted by the JDF came to light recently during the deposition of a JDF soldier.

The revelation prompted attorney-at-law Oswest Senior Smith, who is representing the family of the deceased, to ask for disclosure.

Lawyers from the Attorney General's Department, who were representing the Defence Board, said the body needed time to discuss the matter.

On July 27, the lawyers returned to the inquest and informed the coroner that the board met and determined that it would not reveal the notes or findings. 

The coroner then set the matter for August 27 and summoned Major Saunders to appear before the inquest.

The coroner has indicated he wants the information so that he can assess it and determine if it should be put to the jury.

When the matter resumed on August 27 lawyers from the Attorney General's department told the inquest that they were no longer representing the Defence Board.

Personnel from the JDF then asked for time to get a new lawyer.

The matter has now been put off to September 17 and 18.