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In response to Robinson

Published:Tuesday | March 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I refer to a contribution by attorney Gordon Robinson, captioned 'A matter for the courts' in The Sunday Gleaner of March 14, with subcaption 'Golding's action neither noble nor patriotic'.

The contribution says, among other things:

"Section 6 explicitly provides that any person "found in Jamaica" who is "accused of an extradition offence" may be arrested and returned to the requesting state (say, the United States) "as provided by this act" (not any other act: not the Evidence Act; not the Offences Against the Person Act; and definitely not the IOCA). Moving right along.

"What does 'this act' provide? Section (1) provides that a person shall not be extradited if it appears to the minister (or to the court on an application for habeas corpus)."

Question of accused

I must assume that he was replying to my assertion that if the evidence is inadmissible in the United States the indictment would be bad, and so could not be relied on to extradite Coke. His statement is obviously flawed, ill-conceived and erroneous. It is beyond me how Mr Robinson, as a lawyer, could come to such a conclusion without dealing with the question of accused of an extradited offence. How can accusation come about without admissible evidence before the minister could act? Is he saying the director of public prosecutions can wake up in the middle of the night and prepare an indictment against anyone without prima facie admissible evidence before her? Not the learned director that I know.

I shall say no more except to advise Mr Robinson, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and all other opinion leaders who make themselves into legal tribunals in deciding that the matter should go to court when even the law Mr Robinson cites says, inter alia: "a person shall not be extradited if it appears to the minister (or to the court on an application for habeus corpeus)". Is anybody in custody to attract habeas corpus proceedings - court proceedings?

As I indicated in a previous publication, I am a citizen of both Jamaica and the United States and, as such, have no greater loyalty to either.

As an academic and professional lawyer, having been called to the Degree of Utter Barrister (Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn) knowing what is an indictment and how it is secured from I entered the Jamaica Constabulary Force in 1952 and having to draft countless indictments in the courts during the time I was assistant clerk (Grade One), acting deputy clerk of courts, deputy clerk of courts, acting clerk of courts and finally clerk of courts, I knew at all material times that all indictments, not only in Jamaica, but on this planet, are supposed to be fashioned out of prima facie admissible evidence.

In the context of the laws of evidence of Jamaica, the evidence laws of Jamaica are both by statute and the common law such as the decision of the Privy Council in Kuruma v R. (1955) A.C. 197 cited by me recently in The Gleaner and The Observer.

Agreement with gov't

For the reason I gave before that the indictment is bad and the reason the Government gave, I must repeat that I agree with the decision of the Government so far not to extradite, although I do not agree with the undiplomatic outburst of our prime minister, for which he should apologise now that his provoked temper must have cooled.

He cannot, however, be seen by any honest person in this case or at any time to be other than noble and patriotic.

What I think the Government is saying is what I said before in the press and what the United States stands and fight for and for which it is well known as the world's policeman:

"Things must be properly done, wrongs must be made right and justice must prevail."

I am, etc,




Things must be properly done, wrongs must be made right and justice must prevail.