No jus­tice for Kha­jeel Mais

Jamaica Gleaner - - IN FOCUS - Glenn Tucker

“Laws are like spi­der’s webs which, if any­thing small falls into them, they en­snare it, but large things break through and es­cape.” Lives and Opin­ions of Em­i­nent Philoso­phers. – Solon, 3rd Cen­tury AD VENTS OVER the past week were dom­i­nated by what has be­come known as the ‘X6 killer trial’. Five years ago, a school­boy was killed by a bul­let to his head while he was in a taxi that had just hit an ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cle.

The trial was over in five days, and the al­leged killer found not guilty. The rea­son given for this ver­dict was that the crit­i­cal wit­ness had changed his tes­ti­mony. And that’s that.

Long be­fore this mat­ter came to trial, many had pre­dicted this out­come. And the po­lice – busy as they are – seemed to have missed all the use­ful clues that were on ev­ery­body’s lips. In spite of this ac­cu­rate pre­dic­tion of the out­come, the na­tion erupted with anger at the ver­dict.

There is a claim that we only ex­press out­rage for a few days, then we for­get the in­ci­dent. This is not quite true. We stop talk­ing but – un­be­known to us, even – there is a silent, sub­lim­i­nal de­posit to that deep­en­ing sense of cyn­i­cism that lies dor­mant be­fore it be­comes dan­ger­ous.

Napoleon I of France is re­mem­bered by most as a mil­i­tary ge­nius. But his ge­nius ex­tended well be­yond the battlefield. He is re­spon­si­ble for the Napoleonic Code, which has in­flu­enced le­gal sys­tems in more than 70 coun­tries. In­deed, that code is re­garded as one of the few doc­u­ments that has in­flu­enced the whole world.

Napoleon had a grow­ing con­cern that his coun­try­men were for­get­ting the con­cerns that sparked the revo­lu­tion just over two decades be­fore. So con­cerned was he that he sum­moned the mem­bers of the Coun­cil of State on March 12, 1803 – a Satur­day – and among the warn­ings he gave were these words: “Il ne suf­fit pas pour etre juste de faire le bien, il faut en­core que les ad­min­istres soient con­va­icus.” Roughly trans­lated, that means: “To be just is not sim­ply do­ing right, the gov­erned must be con­vinced that it is right.”

There is a deep cyn­i­cism among our peo­ple that is now firmly baked into the na­tional psy­che. It stems from the con­vic­tion that jus­tice is for ‘other peo­ple’ and de­ter­mined by colour, car, cas­tle and cash – as lit­tle as pos­si­ble of the first, and the oth­ers in abun­dance. When­ever these trav­es­ties oc­cur and we get restive, le­gal lu­mi­nar­ies are put on the air­waves. They use ob­fus­ca­tory lingo in which any­thing seems to mean ev­ery­thing or maybe noth­ing if that is what is re­quired. And that’s that.

EPa­trick Pow­ell has been freed in the Kha­jeel Mais mur­der case.

I would like to look at this The re­quest by the po­lice ‘passed’ an IMF ‘test’. With the event through the eyes of an for the firearm was de­nied. ‘pass­ing’ of each test comes a or­di­nary Ja­maican – not ini­ti­ated Five years later, the trial more se­vere im­pov­er­ish­ment of in law or logic. starts, the taxi driver takes the the na­tion as crit­i­cal pro­grammes

Ac­cord­ing to the mother of oath, takes the stand and de­nies in ed­u­ca­tion, health the de­ceased child, she took him that he ever gave a sec­ond state­ment, and se­cu­rity have to be re­duced to a taxi stand. The driver of the de­nies that he knows the to bare bones in or­der to pay taxi he took lived in his neigh­bour­hood ac­cused or the dead boy’s fam­ily, these debts. and knew his fam­ily. ac­cuses the po­lice of ly­ing, the Those are easy to see. But

The driver claims that the taxi ac­cused is set free, and ev­ery­body what is less vis­i­ble are losses to hit a car and shortly, there­after, goes home. And that’s the foun­da­tions of our democ­racy. bul­lets were fired into the cab that!!

This, un­for­tu­nately, is the out­come and one hit this child in his the so­ci­ety has come to head. He drove to the Con­stant

ex­pect in mat­ters con­cern­ing Spring Po­lice Sta­tion, where the

cer­tain per­sons in this so­ci­ety. po­lice de­cided to drive the child

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Del­roy Chuck to hospi­tal. They passed has been mak­ing some pos­i­tive An­drews Me­mo­rial and Med­i­cal noises. And none but the ar­chi­tects As­so­ciates hos­pi­tals – two of of mis­chief would ex­pect the best hos­pi­tals we have – and this new Govern­ment to re­verse jour­neyed all the way across this gen­er­a­tions-old prob­lem in town to the Kingston Pub­lic a few months. Nor should we be Hospi­tal – the most over­crowded so hard on pre­vi­ous regimes. and un­der­staffed hospi­tal we have. Not sur­pris­ingly, the child died.

NOT TRUTH­FUL

Ac­cord­ing to the di­rec­tor pub­lic prose­cu­tions, the taxi driver gave a state­ment in which he claimed he saw noth­ing that could be help­ful. On an­other oc­ca­sion, he re­turned to the po­lice sta­tion to say that the first state­ment was not truth­ful and he gave a sec­ond state­ment claim­ing that he knew the shooter and his fam­ily and gave details to sub­stan­ti­ate his claims.

Be­cause of the cir­cum­stances of the case, the al­leged killer’s gun was crit­i­cal to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

COL­LECT DEBTS

Gen­er­a­tions ago, neo-colo­nial­ists us­ing aliases like In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund and World Bank held the govern­ment in a choke­hold and force-fed a fun­da­men­tally flawed devel­op­ment sys­tem. The real ob­jec­tive was to col­lect debts we could not re­pay, and us­ing the so­phis­ti­cated tool of de­val­u­a­tion, buy our goods as cheaply as pos­si­ble.

For years, politi­cians have been step­ping over the wretched, bro­ken bod­ies of our home­less brothers and sis­ters at Jus­tice Square (don’t laugh) on their way to Gor­gon House to proudly an­nounce that they have Jus­tice is one of the main ca­su­al­ties we don’t im­me­di­ately recog­nise.

More than 40 years ago, I worked at the Fam­ily Court. I was shocked to ob­serve that the judge had a pen in her hand record­ing, long­hand, the details of each case. That un­be­liev­ably in­ef­fi­cient waste of time con­tin­ues to­day and typ­i­fies the present jus­tice ar­range­ments. It is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to deal with the back­log of cases that are await­ing trial.

Wit­nesses are dead or gone away. Vic­tims have given up, as they have no more money for le­gal fees. Oth­ers have cho­sen more di­rect and vi­o­lent means of set­tling griev­ances, as dons have proven to be far more ef­fec­tive than the coun­try’s jus­tice and se­cu­rity ar­range­ments. Jus­tice af­ter five years is no longer jus­tice.

So we end up with what we see last week. The key wit­ness can tell the po­lice one thing and the court an­other un­der oath. Ei­ther he is ly­ing to the po­lice or the court. But there are no con­se­quences. This is a gun crime and the al­leged killer has a gun. But he has failed to hand it over, and there are no con­se­quences.

How is this sys­tem of laws help­ing us? Be­cause if the law can­not pun­ish cer­tain groups in our so­ci­ety, it can­not per­suade per­sons in those groups to re­spect the law. That is why Thomas Jef­fer­son, in a let­ter to Abbe Arnold, on May 27, 1789, said, in part, “The ex­e­cu­tion of the law is more im­por­tant than the mak­ing of them.”

The vul­ner­a­ble in the so­ci­ety are grow­ing at an alarm­ing rate. From Agana Bar­rett to Ar­madale to the hap­less, hope­less chil­dren of dead and in­car­cer­ated par­ents, to the elderly the poor and the men­tally chal­lenged. One would have to be haughty and con­temp­tu­ous of his­tory to ig­nore the ex­plo­sive con­se­quences that face our na­tion if we ig­nore the wel­fare of the weak­est.

We can­not con­tinue to hand out not-guilty ver­dicts for these egre­gious crimes. For if no one is guilty, ev­ery­one is re­spon­si­ble.

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