Cop gets life sentence for murder
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn said that the life sentence judgement handed down in the case of policeman Gareth Davis on Tuesday shows that justice will be served where necessary, irrespective of an individual's occupation or standing in life.
Davis received a mandatory life sentence for the 2009 killing of Omar Marshall, who was shot nine times in his backyard in Central Kingston.
Davis must serve 15 years before he becomes eligible for parole. Another officer, Christobel Smith, was also sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison by High Court judge Georgianna Fraser, nearly two months after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter.
"This goes not just for police officers, but everyone, and the message is that if you contravene the criminal law, then you will have to pay the consequences. Whether you are a police officer, lawyer, doctor or Indian chief, the administration of justice or rule of law is there for everyone, because nobody is above the law or beyond it," Llewellyn said.
According to evidence presented during the trial, the two cops were part of a police team that went to a premises on Blake Road under the supervision of a superintendent.
Eyewitnesses reportedly testified that Marshall was urinating at the fence in his front yard when four cops, including Smith and Davis, held him and dragged him to the back of the premises where he was shot to death.
Llewellyn re-emphasised that although the end result of a case may not go in favour of everyone, the justice system works.
"It shows that the administration of justice works. It may not work in the way that some people would want it to work or as quickly as some people would like, but what I can reaffirm is that irrespective of your station in life and your occupation, once there is reliable and credible evidence, the law will take its course," she said.
The policemen, who both worked at the now disbanded Mobile Reserve Division, claimed in their defence that they were on patrol in the area when they saw Marshall - who they did not know before - running from the roadway to premises on Blake Road.
They said they chased him to the back of the premises where he turned to face them with a firearm in his hand. Both cops said that they fired in self defence.
A firearm, which was said to be in Marshall's hand at the time, was handed over by the cops, a claim which was reportedly refuted by witnesses.
When contacted for a comment, head of the police's Corporate Communications Unit, Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, said: "Like any other citizen, if the court is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to satisfy to convict a member of the police force, then it is part of the reality that we face."