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Magistrate recuses herself in Jackson case

Magistrate recuses herself in Jackson case

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Acting Chief Magistrate Sharda Sinanan-Bollers emphatically disagreed with the notion that presiding over the Glen Jackson murder preliminary inquiry will perverse the course of justice or create a conflict of interest on her part. She has however decided to “err on the side of caution” and recuse herself from the proceedings.

When the case was called on Wednesday August 2, Kay Bacchus, lawyer for murder accused Francis “Prickle” Williams objected to the acting Chief Magistrate hearing the case on the grounds that her husband, Martin Bollers – Digicel’s manager, might be called to be a witness. During the investigation of Jackson’s death an order for Jackson’s phone records was made to wireless phone operator Digicel.{{more}}

When the hearing continued last Thursday September 7, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Colin Williams confirmed that Martin Bollers was to be called as a formal witness during the proceedings. The defense team renewed its call for the acting Chief Magistrate to step aside from hearing the matter.

Bollers said that she did not see grounds for her to step aside. She said there was no statutory provision which directed her to do so in the prevailing circumstances and secondly she saw no real danger of bias on her part.

In granting the defense its wish she conceded that although he was just a formal witness, her husband could have a greater part to play in proving the case as proceedings continued. She added that it was not unreasonable to think that public will believe that she and her husband will be having discussions about the case.

The acting Chief Magistrate further stated that if the case against Williams was proven and he was found guilty then her husband’s involvement could be grounds for the Privy Council, the nation’s highest appeal court, to “stick the case”.

In her statement of judgment Bollers made reference to the famed case against former Chilean dictator Auguste Pinochet. In 1998 Baron Leonard Hurbert Hoffmann of the English House of Lords failed to declare his links with international human rights champions Amnesty International before ruling on whether General Pinochet was immune from prosecution on charges of torture, murder and other human rights violations. Pinochet ruled Chile with an iron fist from 1973-1990.

Lord Hoffmann was at the time in his eighth year as an unpaid director of the Amnesty International Charity Limited and his wife had served as an administrative assistant in Amnesty International’s London offices for 21 years.

Thus, although Lord Hoffmann viewed his wife’s working with Amnesty as “neither here nor there”, and the fact that he did not have a record of toeing the Amnesty International line the House of Lord’s Judgment was still set aside.

Bollers expressed her disappointment stating that by removing herself from the case she will be missing out on an intriguing and seriously argued case.

Twenty three- year-old Francis “Prickle” Williams is charged with the murder of Glenn Jackson, the former press secretary and personal aide to Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. The pint-sized Sion Hill young man first appeared on Tuesday May 2 before Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman amidst widespread public hysteria.

On March 6, the entire nation was shook up as Glenn Jackson’s lifeless body was discovered naked in the back seat of his vehicle at Cane Garden. He was believed to have been shot in the chest with the bullet exiting the back. Government offered a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the capture of the person or person responsible and brought in sleuths from Scotland Yard to track down the perpetrator.

The preliminary inquiry was adjourned to Thursday, November 02 and will be heard by Chief Magistrate Simone Churman.

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