As the trial of Dance-Hall performer Adijia Palmer o/c Vybez Kartel winds down, pretty much all the Nations 2.7 Million people living on the Island are anxiously awaiting the verdict. Jamaicans in the diaspora are also tuned in to what appears to be the trial of the decade in Jamaica. I’m not quite sure why there’s so much attention being paid to a bleached-skinned dance hall Dj , when the Kern Spencer trial is still yet to be concluded.
JUSTICE SYSTEM ON TRIAL !!!
Kartel has already beaten one murder rap, mainly because witnesses refused to show to testify against him. Which brings us to the question of whether the criminal justice system is itself on trial. It is a self perpetuating phenomenon when witnesses are afraid to testify against accused criminals. Criminals are emboldened and naturally becomes more brutish. Police and Prosecutors around the world recognize that depending on eye-witnesses accounts to prosecute murderers, is a fool’s errand. The sole remaining count of murder against Kartel from all accounts should be a pretty easy case to prosecute and prove. But things are not always clear-cut ,or easy in Jamaica. Even though there has been no real challenge to the text evidence by the defense, the despicable unprofessional actions of members of the police department has seriously jeopardized the case. A critical police witness had to agree to defense grilling that the cell-phone used by the defendant,which was a crucial exhibit in the case was used while it ought to have been locked away.
Supreme Court Building King Street Kingston Jamaica
With murders at all time highs and climbing, the JCF has not shown that it has a clue how to bring the killers of almost 1,600 Jamaicans a year to justice. Courts dockets are clogged and overflowing with cases which will never be prosecuted. This means dangerous criminals will face no consequence for their crimes. The Judges are liberal beyond belief. On the rare occasion in which an accused is found guilty the punishment meted out is usually an affront and insult to the victims involved in the crime.
There has been calls from certain quarters, suggesting that to fix the system court dockets should be purged. Meaning that in cases where witnesses are reluctant to testify , those cases should be purged , thereby relieving the log-jam within the system. On the one hand, it does seem like a good idea. After all keeping them there serves no useful purpose if witnesses will never testify. However on the other, it seem like giving Amnesty and carte-blanch to murderers Rapists and other Felons.The idea of starting afresh is only useful if all the Agencies responsible for the dispensation of Justice are brought up to first world standards. Otherwise throwing out old cases would be embarking on a very slippery slope.