Kevin Smith feared for his life, says attorney
Defence attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson, who represented controversial clergyman Kevin O. Smith, claimed that her client told her that members of the security forces were going to kill him.
"Yes, he said they were going to kill him but I cannot say which police told him so. He could not recognise any of the police to say they were from Montego Bay," she said.
Smith, 39, died in a car crash on Monday as he was being transported by the police to Kingston from Montego Bay to be charged in connection with the murder of two congregants during a supposed religious ritual at his church. Neita-Robertson also said that her client told her that he was assaulted by several members of the security forces upon his arrest. She said that he had bruises on his body when she went to see him at the police station.
Smith attained notoriety two weeks ago after two persons were killed in his church in what is alleged to be acts of human sacrifices. The bizarre church service was interrupted by policemen who stormed the sanctuary having been informed about the happenings by a member who escaped. A third person was shot and killed by the cops during what the lawmen said was a shootout.
The pastor and 39 other worshippers were arrested by the police for various breaches of the law. Neita-Robertson said that her client claimed to have been abused by lawmen as they led him away from the Norwood-based Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries.
"He was handcuffed, his clothes -- I think he was in the gown that he would baptise people into -- were taken off, and he was kicked down the steps to the outside," she told THE WEEKEND STAR.
Since Smith's bizarre death in Monday's car crash, information has been put in the public domain which indicated that he had a chequered past. Paula Llewellyn, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), said that Smith was convicted in Canada in 2007 for the sexual assault of a 21-year-old man. It was not immediately clear whether he was deported from Canada.
But in a letter to Llewellyn on Wednesday, Neita-Robertson requested that she be provided with documents supporting the DPP's statement on Smith's conviction. She also questioned the relevance of the information considering that Smith was due to face charges of murder, illegal possession of firearm and wounding with intent.
"The man is dead and you still trying to nasty him up?" the attorney questioned.
"It is deeply concerning that in circumstances in which Dr Kevin Smith has not been charged for any offences and is now deceased, that the director should have publicly disseminated material that is damaging to his memory and which he is unable to deny or accept," Neita-Robertson wrote.
The long-standing attorney has also hit back on comments that she was only interested in representing Smith because of money.
"They can say anything, that don't affect me. I run a private practice so I make money independently. You can like it or don't like it, but it is neither here nor there. When the big businessman a put on 300 and 400 per cent on him goods and you have to buy it, it can upset me, but is his business," she said.
"So who will represent Kevin Smith? Any lawyer could have represented him, it just happens to be me. A friend of his sister's who lived in Canada, who knows me very well, call and say 'Valarie, dem trying to get a lawyer but nobody wah touch it, can you help?'. So I said yes because mi no inna law fi popularity."