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Six years in jail without trial

Published:Monday | April 19, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

An accused man who has been in custody for almost six years refused to remain silent in court last Friday as he pleaded for his case to be tried.

Lance Mathias, 26, of Spanish Town, St Catherine, demanded to know the status of his case when he appeared in the Home Circuit Court.

He is charged jointly with Joel Brown for the murder of Andrew Gordon, who was shot dead on July 9, 2004.

The men have been remanded to return to court on May 2 when the case will be mentioned.

Supreme Court judge Marva McDonald-Bishop ordered the prosecution to take steps to ensure that the defence gets all the relevant documents and statements so that an early trial date could be set.

The sole eyewitness in the case had never been to court. The police reported that the witness could not be located and so the Crown intends to proceed under the Evidence Act to have the statement of the eyewitness tendered into evidence at the trial.

A preliminary inquiry was not held in the matter and the case was sent to the Home Circuit Court by way of a voluntary bill of indictment.

Mathias was one of the prisoners who was injured earlier this year in a riot at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre and had to be hospitalised. The case was listed for trial in February, but was stalled as he could not attend court because of the injury.

Three trial dates have been set in the case since December 2008, but had to be put off for various reasons. The case was subsequently taken off the trial list in February this year. Since February 24, there have been five mention dates.

Attorney-at-law Jacqueline Asher has been representing Mathias since December 2008.