I recently wrote two articles in which I sought to highlight the grave injustice being done to the rule of law and the system of justice in Jamaica by the Delroy Chuck justice ministry.
The Chuck Justice ministry under the guise of freeing up court dockets has engaged in two counterproductive practices which benefit murderers and other criminals and ignores the sensibilities of crime victims.
(1) Sentence reduction day (2) expunging criminal records. Both practices help those who commit crimes even as the country is swamped with violent crimes and inundated in lesser crimes the lion’s share of which the system cannot even bother to prosecute.
The hyper-partisans faux patriots were quick to pounce stupidly labeling me with every pejorative in their vocabulary. They never bothered, or were able to debate the pros and cons of my arguments so they resorted to ad hominem attacks.
In fact, some of my friends argued that I simply had not done the necessary research or I would have seen that as it related to turning criminals back onto the streets it was confined only to people who were caught with a ganja spliff.
For the record, I make no distinction between expunging criminal records[a] (unless the person’s record being sanitized has stayed out of trouble for at least 20-years) and [b] reducing the sentence of murderers simply because they make a guilty plea as is administered in this cavalier and cynical way.
Though this does not cause any outrage in Jamaica, the case of murder against Christopher Johnson in a Kingston courtroom should elicit howls of condemnation from well-intentioned people everywhere.
Johnson was charged with the murder of Elaine Lawrence whom he fatally shot in the face as she tried to defend her daughter.
The trial judge Vivienne Harris flippantly offered the murdering monster the option to decide whether he wanted to plead guilty to non-capital murder and serve a 10-year prison sentence or be convicted and having to do 20 years.
This writer has long advocated for mandatory minimum sentences for murder and other violent crimes. Last year alone Jamaican police reported that there were 1616 murders reported to them. This figure does not cover other shootings in which the victims were not killed or may have died days or weeks later.
Given these facts, the conventional wisdom would suggest a strengthening of the Island’s laws instead of making these reckless concessions to murderers.
The callous lack of deference that this process represents to those murdered and their families is remarkable considering that in other jurisdictions family members of murdered victims are given tremendous respect and deference in the criminal justice system.
As I stated in the first article above, embarking on a willy-nilly process of half off justice is in and of itself prejudicial and injurious to the process of justice because it creates the unintended prospect of encouraging more murders and the practices which clogged the courts’ dockets in the first place.
Christopher Johnson pulled a gun from his waistband and shot Elaine Lawrence in the face twice merely for standing up to him in defense of her daughter.
Johnson’s Lawyer told the court that the daughter of the slain woman said “things” to his client. “She was dissin’ [disrespecting] him and dissin’ him big time.”
A shocking admission of guilt which is not a plausible criminal defense but an egregious justification for a cowardly and dastardly act by a common murdering punk.
Even though this accused have spent four years in prison a 14-year prison sentence for capital murder ought not to be an acceptable sentence for that level of barbarism.