Former prison boss faces cross-examination at ‘Livity’ Coke hearing
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Former head of Jamaica’s prisons, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Prendergast, has testified to following the law in using soldiers to act as guards at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre in St Andrew.
The ex-Commissioner of Corrections is facing cross-examination at the Constitutional Court hearing of a lawsuit brought against the State by Leighton ‘Livity’ Coke.
Coke is the brother of former Tivoli Gardens crime lord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
He is seeking compensation for the alleged beating he received from soldiers at the prison facility in 2012.
Colonel Prendergast told the court that in early February, 2012, he saw a 2008 letter from Major Richard Reese stating that the soldiers were designated persons under the Commissioner of Corrections Act.
Major Reese preceded the Colonel as Commissioner.
Colonel Prendergast said the letter from Major Reese was the earliest document he could find outlining that Jamaica Defence Force members were designated persons.
He said subsequently, he found it necessary to issue a similar directive and that was done in the early part of February, 2012.
Coke’s attorney, Chukwuemeka Cameron, later questioned if soldiers assigned duties knew the role they were expected to play.
Colonel Prendergast responded that each solider would have been briefed or received training regarding their authority, powers and operational procedures.
Meanwhile, Coke completed his evidence under cross examination yesterday.
He denied attacking any soldier.
The JDF has reported that Coke received his injuries while being restrained after he attacked three soldiers.
And a video footage was shown with him and other inmates throwing out water.
However, he explained that he was washing faeces from his cell.
Government lawyers have suggested that Coke threw the water to disable the security camera.
He has denied the suggestion.
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