Bal­anc­ing jus­tice, how?

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDI­TOR, Sir: IN RE­SPONSE to the Gleaner ar­ti­cle ‘Kinda Cruel’ – Court or­ders Pa­trick Pow­ell to pay fam­ily of Kha­jeel Mais $2m’, I guess the law is a very funny in­sti­tu­tion.

I do un­der­stand that a per­son’s fail­ure to an­swer to charges brought against him in a court of law may lead to a de­fault judg­ment be­ing granted to the plain­tiff. But I can­not for the life of me com­pre­hend how it is that the mur­der trial of the ac­cused killer of a young man full of prom­ise fell through, and yet, in jux­ta­po­si­tion, there was a ba­sis for a suc­cess­ful law­suit against the ac­cused.

From my per­spec­tive, there’s no bal­anc­ing of the scales in this mat­ter. This type of jus­tice sys­tem has some gap­ing loop­holes that do not en­gen­der con­fi­dence in the ju­di­ciary’s abil­ity to rep­re­sent the Ja­maican peo­ple and to plead the cause of the op­pressed. Sim­ply put, if there’s no case against Mr Pow­ell, then jus­tice should not re­quire him to pay $2 mil­lion for the law­suit. Like­wise, if there is a case for a suc­cess­ful law­suit against him, then jus­tice should utilise the ev­i­dence which sub­stan­ti­ated the set­tle­ment to make him li­able to the charges of mur­der.

I am not a stu­dent of the law and may be miss­ing some clas­si­cal le­gal ex­pla­na­tion of this judg­ment. If I am, I do hope that some learned mind will en­lighten me on how this thing works. Mean­while, Amos’ words res­onate in my ears brand new: “But let jus­tice run down like wa­ters, and right­eous­ness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24, NKJV).

Given my cha­grin, I can only con­clude with a pop­u­lar Ja­maican proverb: “Don­key say worl’ no level!” PAS­TOR J. FITZROY JOHN­SON jer­maine­fjohn­son@gmail.com

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