Sink­ing to a new low when we den­i­grate jus­tice sys­tem

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - Livern Bar­rett Se­nior Gleaner Writer livern.bar­rett@glean­erjm.com

– judge

A HIGH Court judge on Wed­nes­day re­sponded to re­ports from a top crim­i­nal de­fence at­tor­ney that per­sons have used the so-called X-6 mur­der case to sug­gest that the na­tion’s ju­di­cial sys­tem is cor­rupt, call­ing them dis­turb­ing.

Jus­tice Lloyd Hib­bert noted that Ja­maica’s ju­rispru­dence is well re­spected through­out the Com­mon­wealth and said he found it dis­turb­ing that per­sons were cast­ing as­per­sions about the ju­di­ciary.

“We are sink­ing to a new low when peo­ple try to den­i­grate the jus­tice sys­tem,” the re­spected ju­rist cau­tioned.

“Peo­ple will re­sort to law­less­ness when per­sons seek to be­lit­tle the sys­tem,” Hib­bert con­tin­ued.

The warn­ing came in the Home Cir­cuit Court, where the long-de­layed mur­der trial of busi­ness­man Pa­trick Pow­ell was ex­pected to start on Wed­nes­day. It is now sched­uled to start next Tues­day.

SO­CIAL ME­DIA TIRADE

Pow­ell, who re­sides in the up­scale Bel­grade Loop area, was ar­rested and charged in con­nec­tion with the shoot­ing death of 17-year-old Kingston Col­lege stu­dent Kah­jeel Mais, in Haven­dale, St An­drew, in July 2011.

Be­fore Wed­nes­day’s ad­journ­ment, one of Pow­ell’s at­tor­neys, Deb­o­rah Martin,` com­plained that rel­a­tives of the slain school­boy had taken to so­cial me­dia to make dis­parag­ing com­ments about the case and the ju­di­cial sys­tem.

Martin read from a num­ber of mes­sages, which she told the court had been posted on Face­book and In­sta­gram. Ac­cord­ing to her, the mes­sages sug­gested that Pow­ell was guilty and that the trial was being de­layed be­cause of cor­rup­tion.

“There has been an ex­ten­sive tirade on so­cial me­dia, com­ment­ing on the case and sug­gest­ing that Mr Pow­ell is guilty,” Martin as­serted.

She com­plained that the mes­sages could in­flu­ence per­sons who may be selected to serve as ju­rors and af­fect her client’s chances of get­ting a fair trial.

“We don’t know who reads so­cial me­dia,” Martin un­der­scored.

After lis­ten­ing to her sub­mis­sions, Hib­bert or­dered the re­moval of all posts on so­cial me­dia about the case.

He also in­structed that noth­ing fur­ther about the case be posted on any so­cial me­dia plat­form.

“Any­thing done to im­prop­erly in­flu­ence a tri­bunal is tan­ta­mount to con­tempt of court,” Hib­bert warned.

“A trial must be fair to ev­ery­body – the ac­cuser and the ac­cused,” he stressed.

Mais was trav­el­ling in a taxi, which re­port­edly col­lided with a BMW X-6. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the driver of the lux­ury ve­hi­cle came out and fired one bul­let into the taxi then fled the scene.

We are sink­ing to a new low when peo­ple try to den­i­grate the jus­tice sys­tem ... . Peo­ple will re­sort to law­less­ness when perso ns seek to be­lit­tle the sys­tem.

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