Seven-year case may be dismissed
Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter
Five men who have been appearing before the Home Circuit Court for the past seven years will not have to return if the witnesses are not found.
Prosecutors Caroline Hay and Greg Walcolm disclosed on Monday that based on the history of the case, they had consulted Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, QC who entered a conditional nolle prosequi (no prosecution) in the case at this time.
Defence lawyers headed by Norma Linton, QC. Delano Harrison, QC and Valerie Neita Robertson had complained on numerous occasions that the case was taking too long to be tried.
A judge had set a deadline for prosecution to put things in place by March last year to proceed under section 31D of the Offences against the Person Act, since the witnesses could not be found.
The court was told on Monday that preparation was not done for a paper trial and Justice Horace Marsh said something definite would have to be done.
Hay, in outlining the situation in the case said, so far, the case had 41 mention dates and 16 trial dates. She said the first trial date was as far back as July 2005 but had to be put off for legal representation to be settled. She said between 2006 and 2007 there were still problems with legal representation and on two occasions one defence lawyer was not available, while the lawyer for another of the men was granted permission to withdraw from the case. She said on two occasions the Crown was ready and the witnesses attended court, but some of the defence lawyers were unavailable.
New investigating officer
The difficulty with the Crown witnesses developed in 2010, and the investigating officer in the case died in 2010 and another policeman was assigned to assist in getting the witnesses to attend court. Hay said after discussions on Monday with the DPP, the decision was taken that in the interest of justice, there should be "a pause" in the case at this stage.
The men are brothers Coy Folkes and Kemar Folkes, Andrew Phang, Carlton Merkrose and Oliver Christie of Kingston addresses. Romaine Fagan was also charged jointly with the men, but he has since died.
The five accused were also represented by attorneys-at-law C.J. Mitchell, Dianne Jobson and Jacqueline Asher.
It is being alleged that Anthony Nathaniel Folkes, also called 'Chunsie', father of the accused Coy and Kemar, was murdered in Jones Town, Kingston, on April 4, 2004. Shortly after Folkes was shot dead, men armed with guns, sticks, knives, machetes and pickaxes went to Septimus Street, Jones Town, where Andrew Laing was killed in order to avenge Folkes' murder.