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Police witness scandal in Jamaica

KINGSTON — The integrity of the justice system is again facing the possibility of further erosion, in light of allegations that the police have used a so-called “professional witness” in order to secure convictions.

The matter has been referred to Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn after the allegations were made on Friday by senior attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson, who also complained that she had since last year tried, but to no avail, to get information from the Office of the DPP on a previous case involving the said professional witness who is now deceased.

The person, according to Neita-Robertson, was used by the police to act as an eyewitness in situations where actual eyewitnesses do not come forward or in cases where there was no witness at all.

The issue came to the fore in the Home Circuit Court in the case of Omar Nicholson and his nephew Oniel, who are accused of murdering Detective Sergeant Desmond Carter during the robbery of a food establishment in Spanish Town, St Catherine, in 2006.

During Friday’s hearing, Neita-Robertson, who is representing Omar Nicholson, alleged in court that the late Dylan Millanaise — the witness being relied on by the prosecution — was a “professional witness”.

She said that Millanaise had been the main witness in more than one murder case — including the murder of a policeman in Clarendon — and requested the prosecution disclose to the defence Millanaise’s statement in that case.

The attorney complained to the court that she had previously sent letters to the prosecution requesting this and other information regarding Millanaise. She also presented a similar letter to the prosecution on Friday.

The case has been before the Circuit Court since 2007.

Following the airing of Neita-Robertson’s concerns, Justice Gloria Smith said that the director of public prosecutions will have to make a decision on the “next step” in light of the fact that the main witness is dead, in addition to the allegations being made by the defence.

The men’s bails were extended until October 4, when the case will again be mentioned. (Observer)

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