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'Insensitive and inappropriate!' - social media post of dead teen irks advocate

Published:Thursday | March 19, 2015 | 12:00 AMSherine Williams, Gleaner Writer

Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison has described as insensitive and inappropriate photographs posted on social media sites believed to be from the post mortem of Kayalicia Simpson, the 14-year-old Donald Quarrie High School teen who was slain in St Thomas recently.

“Certainly I think it speaks to a level of social depravity and a new level of low that we seem to be sinking as a society,” Harrison said.

“It is unacceptable and wrong on so many different levels. Children have a right to dignity and that is both in life and post [death] so to portray the child in what can be considered a butchered state does not accord with the respect for that right to dignity that we should be trying to preserve,” she added.

No guidelines

Harrison said there are no specific legal guidelines which tell social media users how to portray children, but said people should still be mindful of family members who might find images of their loved ones disturbing.

“We cannot legislate morality and decency but we need to recognise that though there may not be a penalty for it, there are some things that are irresponsible and inappropriate and this is one of them,” the Children’s Advocate said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Beresford Williams, Acting Head of Operations for the St Thomas Division agreed that the police can do nothing to stop individuals from posting graphic images of victims of violent crimes and accidents.

However, they might be able to charge those who leaked the photos.

“We heard that they were post mortem pictures. We are trying to get to the bottom of it to find out who would have done that. We don’t know how easy that is going to be,” he said.

DSP Williams said that if an officer was to be found liable of leaking post-mortem photos, he would be dealt with according to internal guidelines of the police force.
However, he noted that individuals should not be quick to blame the police for the images that were reportedly leaked as that could have been done by other people.

“The police are not the only ones present at post mortems. Usually at a post mortem you have at least the police, the morgue attendant and the pathologist,” DSP Williams said.