Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Can unfair trial and societal image incriminate?

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2020 | 12:07 AM


The Uchence Wilson Gang members who were released by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes due to an alleged violation of their fundamental rights, might be a step in the right direction. This is why I could not endorse bench trials, because it is an intervention on a person’s human rights. Sometimes what we term as ‘justice’ is only found in a kangaroo court and is basically the violation of people’s rights under the Constitution. It is wrong for an innocent man/woman to go to jail and spend the better part of his/her life when there are so many things in a modern-day justice system which can actually exonerate an innocent man. DNA evidence is one such thing that can be used to ensure that the right man gets the appropriate punishment for the crime committed.

Uchence Gang created havoc in many parishes. Why should the jury trust any witness who may have other motives and indict another man? Couldn’t this be entrapment, whistle-blowing? I don’t know. Even if the person who is being accused is a recidivist, there is no reason why the person cannot be reformed the second time around. A man is not guilty under a court of law until he is proven guilty. Such an individual will have to be proven guilty by empirical evidence, which is, beyond reasonable doubt. I have read repeatedly wherein in former years, persons have spent their entire lifetime in jail because of the scourge of racism or owing to their socio-economic backgrounds. No innocent man should suffer the indignity of a criminal.

I recalled in the mid-1990s, a pastor wrote a letter on the life of a young man who was on death row. This was only because the laws of the land had found him guilty of a murder he swore he didn’t commit. Everyone saw him as a cruel and heartless murderer. He was tried in the streets and then in the courts, and both unanimously pronounced him to be the killer. The pastor, in his written words, declared that he spoke to the man and was convinced he was innocent, but the pastor was unable to help the accused. The pastor said that when persons were accused of murder, like this particular man at the St Catherine District Prison, it is customary that he goes to their cells and pray for them – even on the day before they were hanged by the neck until death. They usually give in and admit that they were guilty, so as to be pardoned and live in the new life, but this man never gave in, not even on the morning of his execution.