Caribbean News Round-up

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Three policemen, ex-cop charged with murder of two brothers

Court[Jamaica Observer] – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is expected to review the files of three policemen and a former member of the force who have been charged with murder in relation to the shooting death of two brothers in 2001.

The four – Deputy Superintendent Merverald Smith, corporals Byron Anderson and Lorie O’Gilvie, and ex-policeman Altimont Shakes — were arrested yesterday following last week’s ruling by a Coroner’s Court that they were responsible for the murder of the two brothers at a house on Whitehall Avenue in Kingston on March 10, 2001.

The accused contend that they were forced to open fire after the brothers fired upon when they entered the house they were in.

DPP Paula Llewellyn made the disclosure about the review yesterday during the bail application of the men, at which time concerns were raised by their attorneys about the length of time that has elapsed between the alleged incident and when they were charged.

The lawyers — QC George Soutar, Bert Samuels, Peter Champagnie and Christopher Townsend — also raised concerns that the sole civilian witness gave two contradictory statements.

One of the statements is said to have supported the position of the accused men that the brothers were shot and killed in self-defence, while the other statement outlining the prosecution’s position is not signed by the witness, is undated, and bears no certificate of authenticity.

The four, who were each offered bail in the sum of $500,000 each, with reporting conditions, are to return to court on November 4.

 

118 arrests in five days

arrest[TT Newsday] – POLICE yesterday boasted of having made a record arrest of 118 persons in the Southern Division over the last five days.

According to a senior officer, between last Wednesday and Sunday, officers led by Snr Supt Irwin Hackshaw and Insp Don Gajadhar, were able to recover a total of six firearms, also solve 12 major crimes among them, three armed robberies in St Mary’s Village, Morgua and San Fernando.

Other arrests were made for criminal activities such as larceny and shooting, and on outstanding warrants.

Police said they also issued 91 tickets for various traffic offences, including drunk driving while 638 Stop and Search forms were filled out.

Insps Knutt and Yearwood along with Sgts Pacheco, Ramdial, Bisnath and McIntosh also assisted in the exercises.

The senior officer added: “Among those arrested were the men responsible for the million dollar robbery at Deepak Jewelry store in Princes Town, and the couple in the child abuse case at a house in Vistabella.

We will continue to work to eradicate crime in the southern division.

 

Venezuela prosecutor sacked after Lopez trial criticism

Luisa Ortega Diaz
Luisa Ortega Diaz

[BBC] – Venezuela’s attorney general says she has sacked a prosecutor who criticised the conviction and imprisonment of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. She said Franklin Nieves, who fled the country, had abandoned his post.

Luisa Ortega Diaz also denied that officials had been pressured to provide false evidence at Mr Lopez’s trial. On Friday, Mr Nieves posted a video on the internet in which he apologised for his role in what he called a political show trial.

In the video, he said he had left Venezuela to escape pressure from the government. Mr Nieves urged fellow prosecutors and judges to join him in expressing their discontent.

In a television interview, Ms Ortega Diaz rejected the former prosecutor’s accusations. “At the state prosecutors’ office we don’t pressure anyone,” she said.

She added that Mr Nieves had given in to “pressures from foreign and domestic elements”, but was not specific.

Ms Ortega also rejected that the allegations by Mr Nieves were grounds for overturning the verdict in Mr Lopez’s trial.

He was sentenced last month to nearly 14 years in prison on charges of inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014.

Mr Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, repeated her call for his release on Monday.

“It is clear that the case was manipulated, a complete farce,” she told a rally in the city of Maracaibo.

French pilots flee drugs conviction in Dominican Republic

Pascal Fauret (left) and Bruno Odos say they are innocent
Pascal Fauret (left) and Bruno Odos say they are innocent

[BBC] – Two French pilots who were sentenced by a court in the Dominican Republic to 20 years in prison have fled the country.

Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos were arrested in 2013 in the Dominican resort of Punta Cana.

Police said their plane was carrying 26 suitcases stuffed with 680kg (1,500lb) of cocaine.

The two pilots and two other Frenchmen on board were found guilty of drug trafficking. They denied the charges.

According to French news channel BMFTV, the pilots had previously worked for the French navy and were helped by former intelligence agents to leave the Dominican Republic.

The channel said that the ex-intelligence agents helped the pilots, who were under house arrest, reach a boat off the Dominican coast.

From there they sailed to the French Antilles and then flew to Paris. The French government said it had nothing to do with their escape.

The pilots’ lawyer, Jean Reinhart, told AFP news agency that Fauret and Odos had returned to France “not to flee justice but to seek justice”.

Reinhart said the two were not “escapees” as they had not escaped from jail. They had been barred from leaving the country but had not been sent to prison because they were appealing against their convictions, Mr Reinhart explained.

He said that Fauret and Odos had contacted the French magistrate in charge of their case and were keen to clear their name.

Fauret and Odos along with Nicolas Pisapia and Alain Castany were about to leave the Dominican Republic on board a Dassault Falcon 50 jet when the suitcases full of cocaine were discovered on board.

Six months after the four were arrested, 22 people were detained over a massive cocaine haul found on an Air France flight from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to Paris.

Buggery law to go to referendum in Jamaica

images (2)[Jamaica Observer] – Opposition Leader Andrew Holness says a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government will allow the Jamaican people to vote in a referendum to determine if there should be any amendment to the Buggery Act.

“You will also know that when it comes to time to determine whether or not we should make any changes to the Buggery Act, or to any other act that determines how Jamaicans see the family, you know that we are not going to take it up onto ourselves in Parliament to make that decision. We are going to come to you, the people of the country, to make that decision,” Holness told a the JLP Area Council Four meeting held at the Mannings School here on Sunday

Holness, meanwhile, lashed Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who he quoted as saying that her immediate focus is to address the poverty of the Jamaican people, when she was asked for a schedule on amendments to the Buggery Act.

“… So they asked the prime minister, ‘Prime minister, what is the timetable for the removal of the Buggery Law? And she says: ‘Well, we have to go and we have to consult with the people you know, we have to go and consult with the people, but right now it is not a priority because we have to deal with the poverty of the people.’ And I reflected on what she said,” Holness said, adding that he had to ponder how the Government’s push for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was going to end poverty in Jamaica.”

Said Holness: “I have asked the prime minister before and I have told the Parliament before [that] when you can tell me how the CCJ is going to end poverty in this country, I will join you in that crusade.

“In the same way that that matter is not a priority, I don’t see how the CCJ is going to make one person in Jamaica richer than they were before. It might, maybe for a few lawyers, but I don’t know,” said the JLP leader.

“This is an independent country and when that time come you know that a Labour Party Government is going to put that question (of the CCJ) for you to decide where we go with it,” said Holness.

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