Not having worked in law enforcement for a long time, I am restrained in my comments as it relates to specific protocols and individual cases before the courts.
Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder about the number of cases before the courts, (serious cases) in which criminal defense attorneys are able to make successful no-case submissions.
If there is enough evidence for a competent prosecutor to present a case to the courts for trial, how can that case end up being tossed by a magistrate or judge for lack of evidence?
The default response is usually to blame the police, I get that, but these cases are given to prosecutors who are all lawyers.
I assume they have to read the case files, look at the evidence, see what is missing, (if anything), talk to investigators to see how outstanding bits of evidence may be secured in time for the trail, and tighten up whatever loose ends may exist.
These are not examples of police incompetence, they are prosecutorial incompetence.
“There is no greater task given any man, than to bring the murderer of the innocent to justice.“
That line stuck with me, it was a line delivered by Instructors to the small class of young officers, of which I was a part, during Detective training at the Police Academy, the year was 1991.
All these years later, one of the most burdensome thing for me, is to know that there are murderers walking around among law-abiding citizens having taken innocent life/lives.
In a perfect world, we expect that all murderers will be brought to justice, at least that’s my expectation. We live in a world that is far from perfect, but that does not preclude us from striving for the best that we can do. Which brings us to the quality of the prosecutors.
They are the ones who are supposed to vet the cases they are presenting to a judge or jury. How can they not say to investigators, “could you go back and secure this, and this bit of evidence before we go forward”?
Whenever possible, it is always better when investigators sit with prosecutors and go through the evidence before making an arrest.
By doing so Police do not find themselves backed up against the clock to either charge or release an arrestee.
There is no denying the fact that the Island’s criminal defense lawyers are hardly any better than the criminals they defend.
It is also well known that the majority of the magistrates and judges are woefully inadequate when it comes to the fair and equitable dispensation of justice. Simply put, the Islands judges are not generally on the side of crime victims.
Like so many other areas of civic life, the Island’s triers of facts have not demonstrated that they understand the harm violent criminals are causing the society.
With that said, poor case preparation is the prerogative of the prosecuting Attorneys and police investigators, not judges and defense lawyers. Even in cases presented to the courts which were investigated under the new enhanced anti-gang legislation, we see dangerous criminal accused, one after another, peeled off from the list of accused on trial, and let go by the courts.
Since the Government and the Judiciary do not care enough about the nation’s crime emergency, prosecutors and police must.
In one of the most shocking displays of investigative and prosecutorial incompetence, three people, including a former soldier, were freed of murder charges on February 6th, after their lawyers made successful no-case submissions on their behalf.
The case involved the killing of Oshane Burke on September 15, 2009. Eleven years after the police arrested one accused at the body-disposal site justice delayed was justice denied.
Oshane Burke was employed to former JDF soldier Kareem Campbell, and Nadine Moore, who operated a business. They were charged with the murder of Burke along with an employee, Damion Smith, whom the crown allegedly conspired to kill Burke for stealing cash and bottles and liquor from Campbell and Moore.
The body of Oshane Burke was allegedly found with multiple stab wounds along the Port Royal main road, where a police patrol team spotted a man acting suspiciously in close proximity to it.
Prosecutors used the man as it’s star witness, but the witness admitted in court that bloodstains were found on his clothes when he was apprehended by the police, and that he attempted to flee on the approach of the officers.
There was no evidence led as to whether the blood was that of the decadent, even though that would have been one of the easiest things for the prosecutor to nail down from the start.
According to local reporting, [the defense also brought to the prosecution’s star witness’s attention that he had told one of the police officers on the spot that he never meant to commit the crime. He denied telling the police this. However, the police gave evidence to the contrary.
If the police testified that the witness admitted to the crime, how could they not have charged him as the principal killer?
If he was the actual killer, why would they bend over to make him a prosecution witness in order to haul Kareem Campbell, Nadine Moore, and Damion Smith into the net?
It seems that investigators and prosecutors gambled on getting everyone they could and ended up losing everything.
As such, four potentially guilty accused may have been set free by the courts when all should have paid for their crimes.
This is not the way that participants in crime are supposed to be handled.
It seems to me that if prosecutors had charged the witness with the murder and offer him a lighter sentence, it is quite possible that they would have nailed the other accused and they would have nailed him as well.
Worst-case scenario, even if the three other accused, who were able to pay for high profile criminal defense, were able to beat the case, the man caught on the scene would have paid for the murder of Oshane Burke. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Oshane Burke may have been less than an ideal human-being/citizen, none of us is perfect, and so no one deserves to be murdered and discarded like garbage, while the killers are allowed to walk free.
The killers have the system on their side, it is time that those tasked with bringing the murderers to justice remember the charge, ““There is no greater task given any man, than to bring the murderer of the innocent to justice.”
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.