Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey hearing the Kern Spencer criminal case, ruled that a crucial piece of evidence would not be admitted into evidence.A thumb drive taken from an apartment the former junior minister once occupied in 2008 would not be admitted into evidence. The Jamaica Daily Gleaner reported that the ruling came after defense attorneys K.D. Knight and Deborah Martin objected as police cyber-crimes expert Sergeant Patrick Linton was about to give details about the contents of the thumb drive. My understanding of criminal court cases tells me the very idea that the defense doesn’t want the thumb-drive introduced into evidence is because of the potency of what’s on it. I am not faulting the defense for waging a spirited fight on their client’s behalf. What I am against is the reality that the trial judges is seen as aligned with the defense. Even the perception of such collusion is toxic and corrosive to the process.
It is difficult enough to successfully prosecute a criminal offender. He/she has no burden to say anything, it is up to the prosecution to prove its case. It is a steep hill to climb geting over “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal cases. It is exponentially more difficult to bring a criminal case against anyone connected in Jamaica, much less to get that case to stick. The last thing the process of justice needs is a judge who have demonstrably aligned herself squarely on the side of the accused through words and deeds. It is important to remember that Justice must not only be done but it must seem to be done. I am not a Lawyer, yet I remind my legally trained friends that perception is important.
The defense in this case cannot catch a break from this Magistrate Judith Pusey. First she wanted the Prosecutor to testify on the stand about what if anything she offered a witness to get him to testify against the accused Kern Spencer. This would have been a ground breaking and unprecedented move had the prosecutor acquiesced. The DPP filed motion in the high court Appealing to the Magistrate’s order. The Court of Appeals agreed with the DPP. That was not enough the Magistrate fought back appealing the decision against her ruling and was smacked down by the highest court in a unanimous decision.
Sounds like something you would expect coming from defense counsel on behalf of his/her client right? That was the prosecutor battling the trial judge, who should be impartial , while the defense sits around salivating at the spectacle. Many people do not see anything wrong with this nonsense. Sometimes their views are influenced by politics. In other cases they are influenced by loyalty to the legal profession. Clearly this case is yet another which puts the Jamaican justice squarely on trial.