Noel Cham­bers’ rel­a­tives couldn’t be found – Chang

The Star (Jamaica) - - Front Page -

Ja­maica’s na­tional se­cu­rity min­is­ter, Dr Ho­race Chang, said that a search by prison au­thor­i­ties 16 years ago to find rel­a­tives of Noel Cham­bers, an in­mate who died at the Tower Street Adult Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre in Kingston where he spent the last 41 years await­ing trial, failed to lo­cate any­one.

Chang, re­port­ing to Par­lia­ment, said that in 2004, the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (DCS), in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the In­de­pen­dent Ja­maican Coun­cil for Hu­man Rights, em­barked on a one-year project that in­volved as­sign­ing a spe­cial team to search for rel­a­tives of un­fit-toplead in­mates and re­turn them to the courts. He said that Cham­bers was in­cluded in this project.

“A search for the rel­a­tives of Mr Cham­bers was un­der­taken by the DCS, with no suc­cess,” Chang said.

The min­is­ter, in an­nounc­ing that a com­pre­hen­sive au­dit has been or­dered into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the death of Cham­bers, said that he was deemed fit to plead on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

The min­is­ter said that in De­cem­ber 2000, the fam­ily of Cham­bers re­quested that he be re­leased on pa­role.

“Given that he was be­ing held at the gov­er­nor gen­eral’s plea­sure, he was not el­i­gi­ble for pa­role. The lawyers have ad­vised me that pa­role and re­prieve can only be granted to per­sons con­victed and sen­tenced. The fact that Mr Cham­bers was nei­ther con­victed nor sen­tenced nul­li­fied this op­tion,” Dr Chang said.

“Fol­low­ing a psy­chi­atric as­sess­ment in 2016, he was once again cer­ti­fied as be­ing fit to plead, which re­sulted in him be­ing in­cluded on a list­ing to the courts in 2017,” he added.

Chang said the au­dit is ex­pected to not only re­veal the cir­cum­stances spe­cific to his death but also to thor­oughly ex­am­ine the pro­ce­dures in­volved in the treat­ment of in­mates who are deemed un­fit to plead.

Dr Ho­race Chang

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