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Cops on INDECOM charges vow to appeal conviction

Published:Friday | August 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The eight Jamaica Constabulary (JCF) officers convicted for disobeying a lawful notice from the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) have indicated that they will fight their conviction.

Immediately after the seven men and one woman were each given a fine of $650,000 in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday, their attorneys - Valerie Neita-Robertson, Peter Champagnie, and Christopher Townsend - gave verbal notice of appeal.

"We feel like we have a good basis for an appeal," Neita-Robertson told The Gleaner before declining to discuss the grounds on which it would be filed.

The police officers' convictions put their future in the JCF in doubt, but any possible dismissal proceedings have been placed on hold pending the appeal.

The eight, whose ranks range from constable to sergeant, were requested by INDECOM to attend an identification parade and provide a statement about a 2010 operation they were a part of in Tredegar Park, St Catherine, when two men were shot and killed.

However, they failed to turn up, claiming they believed they were to be placed on the parade as suspects and that they had not yet secured legal representation.

In handing down sentence yesterday, Resident Magistrate Georgiana Fraser said she took into consideration their previously unblemished records.

"I had previously indicated that I will not impose a custodial sentence and I am not asking anyone to pay a fine of $3 million," Fraser said in reference to the maximum fine allowed in the INDECOM Act.

The officers have eight weeks to pay the fine or serve six months in prison.