Health concerns delay hearing for accused in Khanice Jackson murder case
Justice Vinette Graham-Allen on Wednesday made an impassioned plea to the police, backed by a recurring court order, for Robert Fowler, the St Catherine mechanic accused of killing 20-year-old accounting clerk Khanice Jackson, to undergo blood testing.
Fowler had done tests a year ago, but because of persistent uneasiness being experienced in his genitals and the lengthy time it took for him to have a referred ultrasound, the entire procedure has to be redone.
At the beginning of his plea and case management hearing in the Home Circuit Court on Wednesday, Fowler’s attorney, Lynden Wellesley, informed the judge that his medical condition was worsening.
“I went to visit Mr Fowler yesterday (Tuesday), and there were some challenges ... . He indicated that the challenges he had medically had not been dealt with sufficiently,” Wellesley told the court.
Graham-Allen reminded him that as the attorney, there was a certain action he should take, reminding him that she had given an order on the last occasion on May 25, 2022.
She stood the matter down and told the attorney to speak with his client.
A call was facilitated, and Wellesley was able to advise the court that Fowler was last seen by a doctor on June 30, 2022.
“He complains of a certain uneasiness in his private parts,” Wellesley said.
After reviewing the accused’s medical journal, Justice Graham-Allen summoned the subofficer in charge of the Greater Portmore Police Station lock-up, where Fowler is being held.
The sergeant attended remotely after the matter was recalled for a third time.
“We had done some blood tests on Mr Fowler about a year ago. They are requiring us to do that test over to find out the status of it ... ,” he told the court.
The judge made an order for the test to be done at the blood bank by October 31.
The cop told the court that they were having logistical challenges.
“The court has received complaints from 2021 about the condition of the accused ... . I have the record that these tests should have been done from 2021, and here we are in 2022, so please ensure these tests are done,” Justice Graham-Allen insisted.
“Please, please ensure that he is taken to have these tests done and after the test that the next procedure is done so that they can deal with the discomfort that he is having. I beg you please, Sir. He is a human being. Notwithstanding that he is in custody. He is a Jamaican human being that needs to be attended to by a doctor,” she added.
Fowler, who is also being represented by attorney Althea Freeman, appeared remotely.
Wellesley told the court that the defence was still pushing to speed up the matter by foregoing a trial.
However, Justice Graham-Allen said she wanted to deal with Fowler’s health first.
The case management was set to be heard again on January 23, 2023.
The custody officer was bound over to update the court at that date.
Fowler was further remanded.
Jackson, who resided in Independence City in Portmore, St Catherine, was found dead on March 26, 2021, two days after she was reported missing.
Fowler was taken into custody and charged after he reportedly confessed to killing Jackson, who he would occasionally transport to work.