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Lawyer's absence delays cops' hearing in Kamoza Clarke case

Published:Sunday | May 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas


The case against the five policemen charged in connection with the 2013 death of Kamoza Clarke, following a beating he sustained while in police custody, did not get off the ground on Friday as one of the defence attorneys was absent from court.

The five officers - Sergeant Derrick Henry and District Constables Alwayne Eccleston, Onecko Brown, Desmond Lawrence, and Tristan Turner - had their bails extended until May 12 when they made their most recent appearance in the Trelawny Parish Court in Duncans, Trelawny.

Although the five defendants' preliminary hearing was set for continuation, presiding judge Ruth Lawrence set the new court date as attorney-at-law Ronald Parris, who is representing Eccleston, was not present.

The case will be heard at the Trelawny Parish Court in Falmouth when the matter resumes on May 12.

Thirty-one-year-old Kamoza Clarke, who lived at Bunkers' Hill in Trelawny and was mentally challenged, was beaten into a vegetative state on October 20, 2013, while in custody at the Falmouth Police Station on a charge of malicious destruction of property. He died four months later, on February 25, 2014, while in intensive care at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.

Henry, Eccleston and Brown were later charged with murder, while Lawrence and Turner were charged with neglect of duty.

Clarke's beating and subsequent death sparked outrage from human-rights advocates, including the Families Against State Terrorism and Amnesty International groups.