A cry for justice ... Clarendon family says court got conviction wrong
Stung by his conviction five years ago, Oakland Nunes' mother is disappointed in the justice system.
Nunes was convicted, along with Kevin Mason and Delovan Smith, in 2012 of illegal possession of firearm and robbery with aggravation. They are serving 12-year prison sentences. However, Nunes' relatives are convinced that he has been unfairly locked up.
"From the day me born, I never go through a thing like this," Alviene, Nunes' mother, said.
The family says they are torn by the events and it's becoming a burden they can no longer bear.
"This is unfair," Nunes' sister said. "We a poor people, and we can't afford this. We don't know anything, we just tired. There are other persons in there facing the same challenges; innocent persons are in there, and it is unfair. We need them to review the case or something," added the sister, as tears welled in her eyes.
The fact that the trial was held in private is no comfort to the Nunes family. They are convinced that his arrest was due to mistaken identity. They also feel that he was unfairly tried, and based on the little information they got, the last thing they expected was a conviction.
The family said that based on what they heard from the
police, the men were arrested after police got a report that three armed men committed a robbery earlier that night in the community.
Nunes, 30; Mason, 30; and Smith 29 - all of Mason River, Clarendon - were brought to Claremont, St Ann, by a farmer, who gave them lodgings as well as jobs on his farm. They were reportedly on their way to see the farmer the night that the incident occurred.
Leroy Equiano, the lawyer who represented the three at appeal, said Nunes was "a simple little country youth who went there to work for a few weeks".
"The day after they were convicted, we appealed ... . Now they said that the case throw out and we don't understand, because there is no evidence to convict them," Nunes' sister said.
With Gun Court matters not appealable at the level of the Privy Council, Equiano is now contemplating raising a constitutional matter on behalf of the men to ensure their freedom.
He said that the men were denied a fair hearing as the key issue in the trial was one of identification. According to the lawyer, on the first day of the trial in the St Catherine division of the Circuit Court, the shorthand
writers were not present and the judge took notes. He said that the first day of trial dealt with matters of identification.
He reasoned that the notes of evidence, which the judge took, never reached the Court of Appeal, and thus, Nunes and his compatriots were disadvantaged.
In court, the lawyer argued that it would have been unfair for the appeal for the sentence and conviction to be upheld, but the application for leave to appeal the matter was dismissed.