It is sometimes ‘Intriguing; Sometimes Amusing; and Sometimes Befuddling to the mind, how Law enforcement project themselves, and by extension the reputation of the ‘Police Services.’ As it relates to their role and functions, some law enforcers delight in making self-serving and self-gratification statements. That which shall be known, is that today’s enlightened people are neither fooled by ‘Sentimentality or Gibberish.’ Besides, members of society, particularly those of peripheral-depressed city communities, appear far more intelligent and more informed of occurrences, in and out of their residential spaces.
SANKEY OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Though most have very little to be deprived of, they are equally as concerned about acts of criminality that threaten, not only their communities, but also the rest of society. The citizenry also knows when ‘Law Enforcement’ come out singing ‘Sankey of the Environment.’ If they ‘Fiddle with Truth,’ that they also know. As the title of this commentary suggests, those left in a state of timidity, yet showing a peculiar sense of humor, have coined it; ‘No Murder; No Crime; Only Shootings; Rape and Robberies.’ More ironically, yet humorous, many has said that every ‘Murder’ prevented in ‘St. Lucia,’ is also a ‘Murder’ the dispatched ‘Antiguan and Barbudan Police officers and Military personnel,’ may have been prevented in their crime-ridden nation of ‘Antigua and Barbuda.’
The news portals shall be credited for informing the citizenry on crime, not only within their ‘Residential Spaces,’ but also extended to the wider communities. As the nation has seen a ‘Spate of Robberies’ being perpetrated against the business community, they are expecting those charged with the ‘Prevention of Crime,’ to let their presence felt and their actions known. In spite of the apparent ‘unchecked, uncontrolled and distressing acts of criminality being perpetrated against defenceless citizens, this commentary primarily looks at; (i) ‘Police Shootings and Killings; and (ii) The apparent inability of the multi-tasked ‘Magistrates,’ acting as; (a) ‘District Magistrates; and (b) District Coroners.’ It looks at those ‘Killings’ that have been reasonably suspected, and believed in some quarters to have been ‘Executions’ that are capable of being cited as ‘Extrajudicial Killings.’
At a time when the unarmed and defenceless citizens were wincing under the ‘Criminal Escapades’ of ‘Gun-toting Robbers,’ Law enforcement appeared to have been wilting under their pressure. The citizenry, left to experience horror, terror and trauma, due to the frequency of robbery attacks, Clearly, they have shown, and continue to show that with impunity and mercilessly the hapless citizens. This state of affairs greatly contrasted; (i) ‘Jamaica: (ii) Trinidad and Tobago: (iii) St. Lucia; nor (iv) St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ that have seen serious and violent crimes on the rise in their respective jurisdictions.
BRANDISHING GUNS – WIELDING KNIVES
Given the currency of the terrifying situation, reasonable inferences may have been drawn that Law enforcers were concerned only with the heinous crime of ‘Murder.’ That which they may have failed to consider, has been ‘Public Perceptions’ of an apparent Law enforcement inability in bringing respite to an uneasy, frightened and fearful populace. While they ‘Gloated and Boasted’ of ‘No murder in the First Quarter-2023’ [ANR: April 9, 2023], robbers; (i) ‘Brandishing Guns;’ and (ii) Wielding meat cleavers and knives.’ Captured on ‘close circuit television cameras,’ saw robbers attacking business operators, more than people being rushed to ‘Medical’ facilities to be treated for ‘Heart Attacks.’
STATE OF TIMIDITY
From a professional perspective, these criminal acts have not only seen unprecedented terror being unleashed on members of society by armed robbers and rapists, but also their increasing frequency have left many victims traumatized and mortally afraid. Then there has been the psychological impact on other members of the society. Since no citizen knows who may become the next robbery or rape victim, many law-abiding and vulnerable citizens, continue to harbor a sense of uneasiness and uncertainty as they go about, or attend to their personal affairs and lawful businesses. Many have now been left in a ‘State of Timidity.’
Constitutionally, it speaks to the ‘Law’ as ‘symbolizing the public conscience’ [CO: 1981: Principle: ‘C’]. It is not only to be seen as a ‘Symbol of Authority,’ but also demand respect by both ‘Citizen and State.’ Unfortunately, certain agencies and agents of the ‘State,’ have made it look like ‘Cowboy Law.’ In most of today’s democracies, though many ‘Police Groups’ have been formed within most of the regional ‘Police Forces,’ the name; ‘Special Services Units (SSU),’ has shown a marked difference, and a departure from the ‘Spirit of Law.’ Today, the way they operate and purposes intended. That which appears most troubling to the citizenry, and particularly those that have been insensitively left bereaved and still grieving and mourning, has been the lack of; (i) ‘Accountability; (ii) Criminal liability.’
SANCTITY OF LIFE
Research has shown that within the ‘Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)’ Police Services, the ‘Special Services Units (SSU’s),’ were not just created, but purposefully so. These ‘Units’ shall strike fear in those with the propensity to commit crime. In these jurisdictions, lawful or unlawful; or justified or unjustified, ‘Police killings’ are never called; (a) ‘Murder;’ nor (b) Homicide.’ Clearly, with administrative sanctions and ‘State-sponsored acts of terrorism, members of some regional ‘Police Units’ have reportedly shown scant regard to human dignity, as well as gross lack of respect for the ‘Sanctity of Life.’
MORE OF EVERYTHING
Today, such ‘Units’ appear; (a) ‘More hostile; (b) More intolerant; (c) More insensitive; (d) More oppressive; (d) More combative; (e) More brutal; (f) More reckless; (g) More trigger-happy; and (h) More deadly.’ It may have been observed that under the guise of; (a) Suppression of criminal activities; (b) Seeking to capture prison escapees; or (c) Seeking to restrain the mentally-challenged,’ these appeared much easier to be achieved with the use of ‘Police-issued Firearms,’ than with tact and discretion and gentle persuasion. Thus, it is little wonder that persons identified as; (i) ‘Criminal suspects; (ii) Prison escapees; and (iii) Being Mentally-challenged,’ were subjected to ‘Lethal Force.’ Those that can easily be referred to, includes; (i) ‘Kurt ‘Shabba’ James ; (ii) Travis ‘Ten Pound’ Martin ; (iii) Jamele ‘Marlo’ Hurst : (iv) Shanell ‘Mabz’ Thomas ; and (v) Andrew Noyce’ .
It may have been seen, that in these jurisdictions, particularly, those ‘Copy-Cat Jurisdictions,’ there were those with the harbored, but misguided belief that ‘Extrajudicial Police Killings’ were the answer to the curtailment of serious crimes. That which remains attestable, was that trigger-happy law enforcers appeared to have been encouraged that as ‘State-established Units,’ they could ‘Shoot and Kill’ with impunity.’ This was made obvious by those that are yet to grasp and understand the ‘Legal Concept – Homicide.’ That which they shall know, is that such ‘Killings’ have ‘Prosecutorial Consequences.’
JUSTIFICATION – EXCUSABILITY
In this very jurisdiction, there were strong sentiments against the behavior of these ‘Units.’ Though ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions’ appear rare, it is these proceedings that ‘Coroner’s Juries’ are expected to return verdicts that speak to; (a) ‘Accountability; (b) Justifiability; and (c) Criminal liability.’ For the citizen’s understanding, as known throughout the then ‘British,’ and now ‘Commonwealth,’ instructional guidance speaks to the concept ‘Homicide’ as the ‘Killing of a human being by a human being.’ The improperly or poorly trained and starved for knowledge Law enforcers appeared never to have stopped to think or seek to guide courses of action that often begged for ‘Justification or Excusability.’
That which appeared to have been often ignored by ‘Law enforcement Special Services Units,’ have been actions that have failed the ‘Litmus Test’ of justification. In a; (i) ‘Coroner’s Inquest; and (ii) Criminal trial,’ that which speaks to ‘Justification,’ have always been; (a) ‘When the law enforcer; (a) ‘Attempted to arrest a violent suspect; and (b) A course/s of action necessary for defence against attack’ [Criminal Law Handbook: Baker and Wilkie’s: 1978: P 72]. Consequent upon the need for reaching and returning informed verdicts, ‘Coroners and Trial Judges,’ are legally-bound to explain these to their Juries.
When the two most feared ‘Units’ within the Police Service reportedly lay in an ambush at ‘East Light Foote, ‘Cultural Operational Understanding’ was that; (i) ‘The then Rapid Response Unit (RRU); and (ii) Special Services Unit (SSU),’ were on an apparent fatal mission. The news headline; ‘Suspects killed – Residents at ease,’ speaks to an operation that continue to demand a ‘Coroner’s Inquisition.’ Such headline, speaks to the way the Editor saw the apparent ‘Extrajudicial Killing’ of two young men. Though two young men were reportedly dropped off at ‘Vema Lane,’ could not have been reasonably considered ‘Criminal Suspects,’ when no known criminal acts were about to be committed.
REMARKABLE AND REPETITIVE
Though members of these ‘Units’ of explicable ‘Perceived Infamy’ may have possessed certain ‘Criminal Intelligence,’ there may still have been no reasonable grounds to suspect that a crime was, in fact, was about to be committed. Frequently, Law enforcers hide and influenced the media to publish the ‘Remarkable and Repetitive’ ‘Police media headlines ‘Shootout with Police.’ Though such suggests; (a) ‘Fired upon by assailants; (b) Returning fire on assailants; and (c) Lunging at the Police.’ Seemingly, always guarded by ‘Angels,’ only the latter invariably escaped death or injuries.’
FALSE SENSE OF BELIEF
Even so, media professionals appeared always to have been guided to a ‘False Sense of Belief,’ that once the person ‘Killed by Police,’ may have been; (a) ‘Criminal suspect; (b) Robber; or (c) Rapist; or Mental defective,’ such provides justifiable or excusable reasons for that which, otherwise would have been considered; ‘Extrajudicial Killing.’ This term speaks to ‘Killings or deliberate Executions’ of persons by agents of the State. These, without judicial process, have never been sanctioned or ordered by the ‘Judiciary’ [Wikipedia]. That which shall be uncontradictory said, these ‘Killings’ are subject to ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions.’ Additionally, these are among those statutorily clustered as ‘Unnatural Deaths’ [Interpretations: Coroner’s Act: Chapter 105].
SUDDENLY – VIOLENTLY – UNNATURALLY
Among those so specified include death which occurs; (i) ‘Sudden; (ii) Violent; or (iii) In an unnatural manner.’ Though specified differently, when ‘Police Killed’ a person, it has all these elements. Invariably, it occurred ‘Suddenly; Violently; and Unnaturally.’ Research for the purposes of obtaining statistical data for this commentary, was futile. Reasonable inferences drawn suggested inter alia; (i) ‘Poor record keeping; and (ii) An unwillingness to be obligingly helpful.’ That which was publicly and nationally known, was that most cases pending ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions’ were reportedly those involving; (a) ‘Police Shootings; (b) Deaths in Police Cells; (c) His Majesty’s Prison; (d) Traffic accidents; (e) Suspect suicidal hanging; (f) Drowning and (g) Bodies found in divers places.’
VERSIONS OF EVENTS
That which may not be particularly helpful to the apparent ‘cold-blooded, trigger-happy ‘Unit Members,’ is the instructional guide, necessary to show justification. When there were no ‘Versions of Events,’ that speak to attempting to arrest the person killed, a ‘Coroner’s Court and Jury,’ shall not discern that it was necessary to ‘Kill’ to prevent the commission of; (i) ‘A forcible and atrocious nature; and (ii) The force used was not excessive, but reasonably necessary to achieve the arrest’ [Police Promotion Handbook: Baker & Wilkie’s: 1978: Page 72]. That which was considered ‘excessive was the Case of ‘Constable Kevil Nelson’ .
SHOOTOUT – VEMA LANE
Seemingly, acting ‘Under Pretext’ of crime fighting, the lives of; (i) ‘Travis ‘Ten Pound’ Martin-Bailey; and (ii) Jamele ‘Marlo’ Hurst’ have been snuffed out. A news portal graphically wrote; ‘Two male criminal suspects were shot dead and left lying on the side of ‘Vema Lane in Light Foote East’ for hours, following a shootout with Police.’ In an apparent unusual, if not insensitive pattern of behavior, the two ‘criminal suspects’ reportedly killed by the identified ‘Units,’ ‘Shootout Scene,’ their bullet-riddled bodies, reportedly remained at the ‘Shoutout Scene’ on the side of ‘Vema Lane’ until 8 am’ [Observer News: October 6, 2017].
POLICE INVESTIGATION – TRANSPARENCY
Further chronicling the unfolding events, the news portal continued; ‘The shootout reportedly commenced at ‘1. 30 am’ as residents recounted, it lasted for some ‘10 to 15 minutes.’ Quoting an unidentified on scene ‘Top-ranked officer, the news portal reported; ‘As with every case involving Police shootings, an investigation will be done to determine whether the Police acted lawfully.’ Most importantly, to show ‘Transparency’ not only in addressing ‘Police Killings’ and bringing judicial closures, but also to guide the apparent discriminate use of ‘lethal force’ against unarmed criminal suspects and non-violent prison escapees.’
Most ‘Police Press Releases’ on ‘Police Killings,’ and the case of ‘Shanell ‘Mabz’ Thomas34’ makes the point. In the most graphic of reporting, that clearly has ‘Prosecutorial Implications’ for ‘SSU Personnel,’ it factually states; ‘Police Report: (i) ‘Shanell Thomas, who escaped from Prison authorities was shot following an encounter with the Police.’ The only word that appeared to have been omitted was the operative word ‘Dead.’ Seemingly carefully avoided the ‘dark, dreary and dense vegetation’ where he was reportedly ‘Shot and Killed,’ the ‘Police Press Release’ placed him in the ‘Vicinity of Stables Night Club.’
SERIOUS CONCERNS – DIVINELY SUBDUED
In the ‘Tragic Demise’ of ‘Shanell ‘Mabz’ Thomas 34,’ Prison Visiting Committee and Counselor, Bishop Charlesworth Browne,’ had expressed serious concerns over the tactics used by the law enforcement ‘Special Services Unit (SSU).’ Given the fatal consequences that often follow the term; (a) ‘Wanted: (b) Armed and Dangerous; (c) Shootout with Police,’ that which appeared to have irked him. Clearly ‘Divinely Subdued,’ he spoke to; (a) ‘The ‘purposeful’ aggression; (b) Its active pursuit; (c) The man hunt; and (d) Apparent poor administrative communications’ to subordinate members of the ‘Special Services Unit (SSU)’ [Observer: February 22, 2023].
The ‘Press Release’ continues; (ii) ‘The Police identified themselves to him and ordered him to surrender; (iii) Instead he withdrew an object from his waist and advanced towards them; (iv) The Police took defensive action and shot him’ [Observer: February 10, 2022]. Misleadingly, the ‘Press Release’ concluded; (v) ‘He was ‘Transported’ to the ‘Sir Lester Bird Medical Center’ where he was ‘Treated and later succumbed to his injuries.’ At a ‘Coroner’s Inquisition,’ the ‘Coroner’s Jury’ may hear ‘Contradictory Evidence.’ They may hear that his mother, ‘Winifred Thomas’ immediately rushed to the scene to view her son’s ‘suspected lifeless body.’ Medically, the only evidence the ‘Coroner’s Jury’ will ever hear, will come from the ‘Medical officer’ who reportedly pronounced Death in the Police vehicle at the ‘SLBMC’ [February 9, 2022].
The Police ‘Strategic Communications’ Unit (STRATCOM) shall know that Law enforcement officers do not ‘Shot and Killed,’ then rushed the dead to the hospital for medical treatment. Moreover, ‘STRATCOM’ shall know that when a reported ‘Mental Defective Andrew Noyce 41,’ was reportedly ‘Shot Dead’ at the ‘St. John’s Vegetable Market,’ Police reportedly rushed him to the ‘Sir Lester Bird Medical Center’ for medical treatment.’ It was reported by the Police that he was ‘armed with two knives and lunged at them.’ Then with the same refrain, ‘STRATCOM SINGS;’ ‘He was shot and subsequently transported to the ‘SLBMC’ where he succumbed to his injuries’ [Observer News: April 11, 2022]. Incidentally, ‘Drs. Bertrand O’Mard and Sir Prince Ramsey’ could render him no medical treatment,’ because they too, were dead.
REMOVAL OF DEAD BODIES
That which appeared to have been inconsistent with the law, was the removal of dead bodies from the scene where they were either; (i) ‘Killed; (ii) Disposed of, or purposefully concealed.’ The Law has made it sufficiently clear for ‘Special Services Units (SSU)’ members and ‘District Coroners’ to know that; ‘A body, in respect of which ‘Notice’ is given, ‘SHALL’; (a) ‘Not be removed; or (b) Have its position altered, except so far as is necessary for the safe custody thereof.’ Mindful of ‘Criminal Liability,’ the provision continues; ‘Provided that any Medical Practitioner, who has been called in case of ‘Unnatural Death,’ may where there are ‘No circumstance of Suspicion,’ may order its removal’ to a named and designated place [CA: Section 5 (3)].
JUST ONE LOOK – LAST REQUEST
The Jury may also hear that before his removal from the scene, his hysteric and frantic mother, was denied several requests and pleadings to get ‘Just One Look.’ They may also hear evidence from; (i) ‘Bishop Charlesworth Browne and Chairman of the Prison Visiting Committee and Prison Counselor; and (ii) Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM.’ The Jury shall hear testimony of the deceased ‘Shanell ‘Mabz’ Thomas’; (a) ‘Last Request; and (b) Confirmed arrangements for his voluntary return to Her Majesty’ Prison.’ Even at ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions, this ultimately, is the type of evidence, necessary to ensure the administration of justice.
Those with professional ‘Law enforcement Training’ know that ‘Homicide’ may either be; (i) ‘non-criminal; or (ii) Criminal.’ In the case of ‘non-Criminal,’ it may either be; (a) ‘Justifiable; or (b) Excusable.’ These speak to the carrying out of the ‘Order of the Court’ for ‘Legal Executions;’ and for ‘Excusable,’ Criminal Courts recognize it as; (a) Misadventure’ as in the recent case of Movie Producer Alec Baldwin]; and (b) In Self-defence.’ Conversely, those involved acts of criminality, includes; (i) ‘Murder (Malice aforethought): (ii) Manslaughter (Without Malice).’ They are simply referred to as ‘Police shot and killed,’ invariably a ‘criminal suspect.’
ACCOUNTABILITY – LIABILITY – TRANSPARENCY
Either of these, however, is not necessarily dependent upon the account given in reports to their superiors, and/or ‘Police Press Releases’ disseminated to the media. These, speaks to ‘Accountability; Liability; and Transparency,’ before; (i) Coroner’s Court and Jury: or (ii) If criminally charged, prosecuted; and a verdict to be considered by a properly directed Jury.’ In the case of then ‘Police Constable Kevil Nelson’ and the ‘Tragic Shooting Death’ of Liberta resident, ‘Denfield ‘Tody’ Thomas,’ there was no ‘Coroner’s Inquisition.’ Grievously weak Police administrators saw such ‘Shooting and Killing’ being wrested from the ‘District Coroner.’ In the capacity of ‘Coroner,’ there are statutorily-imposed duties on every ‘District Coroner.’ They are duty-bound to hold ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions,’ particularly, into ‘Police Killings’ and other ‘Homicides,’ bordering criminal liability.
Likened to the common criminals, he was hastily and ‘Criminally Charged.’ He appeared to have been; (a) Fairly tried by a Jury, yet not of his ‘peers;’ (b) Unanimously convicted; and (c) Legally and harshly incarcerated with an imposed sentence of 22 years’ [Offence: October 24, 2006: Convicted: December 11, 2009]. As fate sometimes has it, a final ‘London Privy Council Appeal,’ saw the varied sentence, then reduced by ‘2 years by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC),’ slapped back on against him.
In the more recent case of ‘Police Constable Jason Modeste,’ seemingly vexing public and ‘Environmental Pressure,’ a perfectly legal and procedural option of a ‘Coroner’s Inquisition,’ also saw him being treated in a like manner. He was accused of the ‘Unlawful Killing’ of Falmouth resident ‘Bruce Greenaway.’ Then denying the quartet accused the opportunity to have the clearly ‘Suspicious Death’ looked into by a ‘Coroner’s Inquisition,’ the four accused were slapped with the charge of ‘Murder’ [April 13, 2020]. Their joint-trial with three military personnel for murder is currently underway.
SERVE AND PROTECT
Irrespective of the change of these ‘Special Services Units (SSU),’ names, the connotations, appeared far removed from the concepts ‘Serve and Protect.’ That which Police authorities appeared reckless not to have recognized or understood, was that merely changing the name of an organization, does not necessarily change the cultural landscape or institutionalized mindset. Conversely, it does change the hostile attitude and aggressive behavior of its members.’ Not infrequently ‘Unit Members’ were seen to have exhibited behaviors associated with grievous acts of brutality.
IDEALISM – FUNCTIONAL REALITY
Respecting ‘Police Shootings and Killings,’ it has been suggested that; ‘Comprehensive autopsies to establish ‘Cause of Death’ are vital to ascertain whether a person was killed as a result of the justifiable use of lethal force.’ The ‘Human Rights Organization-Amnesty International’ believes that; ‘A Police Service that is closer to the community, is less likely to commit human rights violations.’
PROPENSITY FOR VIOLLENCE
In some Law enforcement operations, some courses of action were well known to have resulted in tragedy, grief, sorrow and funerals. Thus, ‘Police Services’ with ‘Special Units’ with a ‘Propensity for Violence,’ using ‘Metal Jacketed-Bullets and Rubber Bullets,’ makes such virtually impossible. Whether or not in other regional jurisdictions or in this jurisdiction, this speaks more to ‘Idealism,’ than of functional reality. This organization further expressed the view that when law enforcers acted outside the realm of law, ‘the Police lose their moral authority’ to enforce criminal law. [AI: Index: 38/005/2003].
When law enforcement entered the Carlisle apartment then occupied by Dominican national, ‘Kurt ‘Shabba’ James,’ little did he know that would have been his last day. Law enforcement personnel spoke to a ‘Shootout’ that have raised questions even among their colleagues. Except for the use of ‘Smart Guns’ and ‘Laser-guided Bullets,’ it boggled their minds as to how the deceased could have been peppered with bullets by those on the outside of his apartment. Even with reported ‘Shootouts,’ the records appeared not to have reveal injuries sustained by any of the operations personnel.
SHOT DEAD – SHOT DOWN
In the case of ‘Kurt ‘Shabba’ James,’ reportedly ‘Shot Dead’ inside his apartment, yet a questionable ‘Police Press Release’ claimed that there was a ‘Shoot out’ at his apartment [DNO: January 3, 2016]. Though assurances have been given of ‘Investigations,’ these too, appeared also to have been ‘Shot Down’ by ‘Police authorities.’ That which could be troubling, may very well be a ‘Magisterially-issued Warrants’ to Enter and Search or Arrest.’ There will most certainly, be none to ‘Shoot and Kill.’
ASSESSMENT AND DETERMINATION
From professional knowledge and administrative experience, when there was ‘Tragic Loss of Life,’ such investigation speaks to inter alia; ‘Ascertaining whether or not the operation was properly authorized. They allow for ‘Assessment; Determination; and where necessary, Initiate corrective actions for effective command and control. These are looked at from the perspective of; (a) ‘Debriefing; (b) Authorization; (c) Designated senior operations commander; (d) Number of Personnel: (e) Type of weaponry and caliber of firearms and ammunition issued to individual personnel; (f) Necessity and justification of use; (g) Security of firearms so used; (h) Recovered ‘Spent Shells for ‘Ballistic analyses; and most of all; (i) Accountability and transparency.’
That which remains ‘Administratively and Operationally’ troubling, appears to have been an inability to complete investigations and submit properly prepared ‘Coroner’s Files’ for the conduct of ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions.’ Instructively, over five years later, there appears to have been two fundamental neglects. These affects; (i) ‘The usual ‘Investigation.’ As the ‘Top-Ranking officer’ reportedly told the news portal [Observer News]; and (ii) Allowing for the holding of ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions.’
TWO DAYS – TWO NIGHTS
The prisoner, while then engaged in farming at the rural ‘Diamond-located Prison Farm’ under the supervisory control of two ‘Prison officers,’ institutionalized resident, ‘Shanell “Mabz’ Thomas’ reportedly seized the opportunity to escape. Likened to a ‘Cat on a hot tin roof,’ stealthily, he wended his way through the thick vegetation, He regained his liberty, and was on the run for only ‘Two days and Two Nights,’ such liberty was short-lived.
CALL OF NATURE
When tragedy struck, his mother ‘Winifred Thomas’ appeared not to have been the only person to have spoken to him. An apparent treacherous friend and informant whose cellular phone he had reportedly used to communicate to her from the bushes, may have been the last to have seen him alive and well. With no accessibility to a modern amenity or portable facility, the nearby dense vegetation provides for; (i) ‘A ‘Call to Nature; and (ii) Opportunity to regain judicially-restrained liberty.’
HAIL OF BULLETS
Residents of the ‘Cassada Garden’ community, may have heard a ‘Volley of Gunshots’ that then rang out in the bushes under cover of darkness. When it subsided braving a visit to the area from where he communicated and gunned-down immediate vicinity of their homes [February 9, 2022]. This reportedly came as a result of a ‘Deadly Manhunt Operation’ conducted by a team of the ‘Special Services Unit (SSU).’ Then incarcerated at ‘His Majesty’s Prison (HMP),’ the ‘Prison-Farm Escapee’s life was reportedly snuffed out cold-bloodedly in a ‘Hail of Bullets.’
WILL TO LIVE
These were reportedly discharged from the smoking guns of the rapidly-gaining notoriety of the ‘Special Services Unit (SSU)’ [ANR: February 9, 2022]. Reportedly, having narrowly escaping a hail of ‘Police’ bullets, the previous night, the Deceased Prisoner,’ seemingly had a ‘Will to Live.’ He wanted to return to ‘Legal Confinement.’ On the following night, as fate sometimes has it, before he could have said, ‘Good Night Mama,’ another ‘Hail of Bullets,’ reportedly from an identified member of the ‘Special Services Unit (SSU), saw his life being instantaneously snuffed out’ [February 9, 2022].
THWARTED BURIAL – SINISTER ATTEMPT
Disheartened, depressed, disturbed and dejected, yet still in touch with reality, a ‘Call of Despair’ by mother, Winifred Thomas,’ saw the timely ‘Divine Intervention.’ This came through ‘Prison Visiting Committee Chairman and Prison Counselor, Bishop Charlesworth Browne.’ Positioning himself and observing every procedural step, he successfully; (a) ‘Averted misinformation being documented to the ‘Registry of Births and Deaths.’ Consequent upon an apparent observable ‘Sinister Attempt’ to have the deceased ‘Shanell Thomas’ ‘Police Shooting Death’ registered as a ‘COVID Death,’ he ‘Thwarted’ the deceased prisoner’s ‘Burial.’ This was when he instrumentally and persuasively succeeded in causing an autopsy to be performed on ‘prison-escapee’s bullet-riddled body.’
Though he was then in ‘Legal Confinement’ for inter alia offences ‘Kidnapping,’ the deceased resident had not in actuality broke out of the prison facility.’ Privilege information revealed that whether in actuality or feigning a ‘Subterfuge,’ the prisoner sought and obtained permission to respond to a ‘Call by Nature.’ Then he reportedly escaped through dense vegetation. Long funeralized, his distraught mother, ‘Winifred Thomas’ not only continues to mourn his tragic loss, but also to seek answers. Even as the Law so dictates, she remains deeply perturbed that no ‘Coroner’s Inquisition’ has been held to ascertain the circumstances surrounding his Tragic Death’ [Section 10: Coroner’s Act: Chapter 105].
MAGISTRATES AND CORONERS
None may deny the critical role of ‘Law enforcement.’ None may also deny that their task is only to ensure ‘Social Control’ among the citizenry,’ but also the enforcement of criminal law to ensure their safety, protection and security. As it relates to the ‘Magistracy,’ its role and functions are supplemental. They are as critical to civil behavior, as they are to public order and the ‘Rule of Law.’ Those functioning as ‘Magistrates and Coroners’ appeared seriously constrained in holding and completing ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions.’ Thus, bringing closure to the innumerable incidents in which lives were tragically loss to the ‘Smoking Guns’ of Law enforcement, seems a long way off.
Not only the ‘Coroner’ may deny having been formally submitted a copy of the ‘Completed File,’ but also the deceased prisoner’s mother, ‘Winifred Thomas,’ may also inform that the investigator has yet to record a ‘Statement’ from her. It would be considered vulgar to say the investigation into this, and other ‘Tragic Police Shootings’ completed. That which those starved for procedural knowledge shall inform themselves, is that ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions’ are not held at ‘Funeral Homes; Parlors or Mortuaries or Morgues.’ Such are held only in a ‘Court Setting.’ Thus, ‘Inquisitions’ are held only in a Court room within the ‘Magistracy.’ There is a ‘5-member Coroner’s Jury.’
INQUEST WITHOUT REPORT
Legislators anticipated that some ‘Medical or Pathologists Reports’ might delay proceedings, they further inserted this provision that states; ‘Whether the District Medical officer does, or does not make a ‘Report’ thereon,’ such ‘Inquisition’ shall still be held’ [Section 10: Coroner’s Act: Chapter 105]. Such shall eliminate the myth that a ‘Coroner’s Inquisition’ may not be held without a ‘Pathologist Report,’ regarding ‘Cause of Death,’ may have been due to misunderstanding of the statutory provisions of Law. That which may bring further enlightenment is the provision that states; ‘A Coroner, where there is in his District the body of any person who died; (i) ‘In any Prison or as to whose death an Inquest is prescribed; and shall (ii) ‘Hold an Inquest’ as to the cause and circumstances of such death.’
Notwithstanding, non-adversarial witnesses are called to testify on that which was within their personal knowledge. The Jury will hear no evidence from any ‘On Duty/Call Medical Practitioner’ that has rendered or administered medical attention to save his life. Neither will there be evidence of any ‘Emergency Surgical Procedures’ conducted on his reported bullet-riddled lifeless body. Given the conduct of a ‘Post Mortem or Autopsy,’ they will not only hear of the ‘Cause of Death’ from ‘Pathologist, Dr. Petra Miller-Nanton,’ but also the number and bodily-positions and nature of the bullet injuries reportedly sustained.
BENEFIT OF KNOWLEDGE
Counsels and Solicitors shall know that ‘Right of Appearance’ are statute-barred. For the ‘Benefit of Knowledge,’ the law states; ‘No Counsel or Solicitor shall be entitled as of right to appear in any proceedings before a ‘Coroner’s Court.’ However, ‘The Coroner may, if he/she shall think fit, on application, permit such appearance’ [Section 24: Coroner’s Act: Chapter 105]. Since ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions’ are not criminal trials or litigious proceedings, there are no accused or defendants. Still, Lawyers might be discretionarily permitted to sit in on ‘Watching Brief.’ They shall have no participatory role in the proceedings.
FACTS – KNOWLEDGE – EXAMINATION
That which shall be further known is this; ‘The Coroner shall, at the first sitting of the Inquest; (i) ‘Examine on Oath touching the death, all persons who tender their evidence respecting the facts; and (ii) He/she shall, if considered expedient, examine all persons having knowledge of the facts’ [CA: Section 25]. If only for academic interest, the formalities included; (a) ‘Summoning a 5-member Coroner’s Jury: (b) Visiting with the Coroner and viewing the body at Barnes Funeral Parlor; (c) Giving final instructions; advise of subsequent notification by the Police of the date for the holding of the ‘Coroner’s Inquest.’ Both ‘Coroner and Jury then depart.
The most important of these ‘Formalities’ are; (d) ‘Conduct and completion of the ‘Postmortem Examination’ by a ‘Pathologist.’ This is the ‘Expert’ that determines ‘Cause of Death.’ In the instant case, the engaged ‘Government Pathologist’ was identified as ‘Dr. Petra Miller-Nanton.’ Most of the ‘District Coroners’ may refute suggestions that they were the ones delaying the proceedings. That which shall be understood, is that no proceedings shall commence without the submission of a ‘Completed File’ to the ‘Coroner. Such submission positions the ‘District Coroner’ to give; (i) ‘Directions to Police authorities; (ii) Instructions to Coroner’s Juries; and (iii) Finalizing a ‘Fixture’ for the commencement of the proceedings.’
DISADVANTAGES OF DELAY
Except for; (a) ‘Completion of investigation; and (b) Fixture given for holding the ‘Coroner’s Inquisition,’ all other formalities were reported to have been completed. Clearly, by the time these ‘Files’ are submitted, investigators may encounter difficulties reaching the witnesses. Such has always been among the ‘Disadvantages of Delay.’ Apparent lack of procedural knowledge may have confused even those responsible for investigating and martialing the facts on the ‘Police Killings.’ That which the apparent misguided law enforcers have regarded as the commencement of a ‘Coroner’s Inquisition,’ and have led media practitioners to so believe, were merely the ‘Formalities.’
LIABILITY OF CORONER
The Legislators knew that some deaths might provoke ‘Suspicions’ and sought to ensure that ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions’ were held. The ‘Mischief’ seemingly aimed by Parliament, was that whenever ‘Unnatural Deaths’ occurred, they shall be ‘Purposefully’ inquired into, and with ‘Expedition.’ Conscious of human nature and fallibility, the ‘Act’ contains a penal position for ‘Coroner’s to be constantly circumspect. The provision unambiguously states; ‘A Coroner who is guilty of: (a) ‘Extortion; or (b) Corruption; or (c) Willful neglect of duty; or (d) Misbehavior in the discharge of his/her duty’ shall be held; (i) Guilty of a Misdemeanor; and (ii) Shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars’ [Coroner’s Act: Chapter 105: Section 4].
FAMILY – TRAFFIC – CORONER
None may deny the importance of ‘The Magistracy’ to behavior that speaks not only to civility, but also to good and an orderly society. Most importantly, none shall disregard its primary purpose and the function of those so appointed to administrate and dispense justice. Given the current state of affairs, likened to the newly established ‘Family and Traffic Courts,’ there shall be little doubt that the time has come for a ‘Fully Functioning Coroner’s Court.’ Given the functions of those within the ‘Magistracy’ with; (a) ‘Summary; (b) Civil; and (c) Criminal jurisdictions, time constraint has not only made the dual-function ‘Magistrate/Coroner’ tasks tedious and arduous, but also mentally stressful.
OVERWHELMED AND OVERSTRETCHED
As far as ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions,’ are concerned, those appointed to the ‘Magistracy’ appeared both ‘Overwhelmed; Overstretched; and Overworked.’ For instance, those that are multi-tasked with; (i) ‘Adjudicating criminal trials; (ii) Hearing civil or litigious hearings; or (iii) Conducting Committal proceedings; or (iv) Licensing Magistrates’ function as ‘Magistrates.’ When tragic death occurs, as in ‘Tragic Incidents’ of; (a) ‘Police killings; (b) Drowning; (c) Hanging; (d) Fire; or (e) Traffic accidents,’ they are statutorily required to act in the capacity of ‘Coroner.’ None may deny that such multi-tasking not only requires, inter alia; (i) ‘Professional knowledge and competence; but also (ii) Adequacy of time’ to conduct ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions.’
Not only were Law enforcement personnel appeared in desperate need of professional training, guidance and leadership, but also a ‘Change of Narrative’ to appear relevant, current and useful. Then there were the ‘Police Excesses’ of violence. Clearly not supported by any legal authority, as it pertains to ‘Criminal Jurisdiction,’ a small, but overzealous minority, appeared to have ventured outside the ‘Realm of Law.’ Respecting their ‘Magisterial’ functions and role as ‘District Coroners,’ those so appointed will have seen their ‘Cups’ grew fuller of ‘Woes and Sorrows’ than of ‘Wines and Roses.’ Even with their ‘Magisterial’ competence, they will have been made to appear impotent and non-functional. Among their difficulties, however, is that which speaks to ‘Inadequacy of Time.’ This appeared to have gravely militated against the completion and closure to the several ‘Questionable Police Killings,’ as well as other deaths that demand expedition of ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions.’ ***
Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]
Killing Trees with this Legislative Rhetorics.
Wants vs Needs in a NEEDY society.
Lawyers & Police NO less…..poking Parrots
Love Foo CHAT.
Must have a Good Mustache
If I were the pinacle of that elite position in academia. I would have conferred a doctorate on the esteemed former Commissioner of Police for such a poignantly profound article. What would we do without these writings of this former Commissioner. Praying for the
dawn of a new day in jurisprudence!
Comments are closed.