Mon | Nov 29, 2021

‘Overkill’… attorneys concerned about posthumous charges against Pathways pastor

Published:Thursday | October 28, 2021 | 10:42 AM
Smith died in a motor vehicle crash on Monday in St Catherine. He was being transported from St James to Kingston to face murder charges arising from the alleged cult sacrifice of two members at his Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries in Paradise, Montego Bay, St James on October 17.

Concerns have been raised by attorneys-at-law that the public is being misled by reports about criminal charges being laid posthumously against religious leader Dr Kevin Smith.

Smith died in a motor vehicle crash on Monday in St Catherine.

He was being transported from St James to Kingston to face murder charges arising from the alleged cult sacrifice of two members at his Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries in Paradise, Montego Bay, St James on October 17.

Yesterday, Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey told The Gleaner that the dead church leader was posthumously charged.

READ: Pastor posthumously charged to clear up case

He said that this was done to bring closure to the case.

However, Queen's Counsel Valerie Neita Robertson, who was representing Smith, said today that there is no provision in law for charges to be laid against a dead person.

“It is an overkill by whoever is indicating that charges have been laid or will be laid against Smith,” Neita Robertson stressed.

Attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman charged that a person who is dead was not subject to criminal prosecution and said the public is owed an apology for the misinformation.

“Jamaica's image has been severely tarnished by this development,” Wildman said.

“Criminal charges die with the accused,” said attorney Alexander Williams, who is also president of the Jamaican Bar Association.

Contacted about the concerns, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, QC, told The Gleaner that several persons have called her about the matter “but I know nothing about it.”

She went on to explain that the charging of persons with criminal offences was the purview of the police.

Llewellyn pointed out that her department prepares and proffers indictment against accused persons, which she said is the first step leading to the actual trial of such individuals.

- Barbara Gayle

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