Judge raps cops for treatment of ill drug accused
Parish Judge Venise Blackstock-Murray yesterday chastised the police for the lack of sympathy shown towards the gravely ill accused in the J$90 million cocaine bust at the Norman Manley International Airport. She also rebuked the cops for their failure to take him for his dialysis treatment.
The prosecution, in its defence, argued that although all the arrangements were made, the police opted not to take the 56-year-old accused Robert Chin because the US$350 payment was not made by Chin’s family and it would not have made any sense to take him.
But the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court judge said, “The police had no business keeping him there without taking him for his dialysis treatment and whoever made that decision erred and if he had died there, it would have been the responsibility of the state.
“This is not about whether people feel somebody should have been kept in custody for whatever reason, there has to be some consideration for people, it could have been any police officer, anybody with a condition that requires treatment.
“How would you feel if somebody made a decision not to take you for treatment? And that is unaccepted, that is nonsense,” judge Blackstock-Murray added.
The judge stressed that the police should not have concerned themselves with whether or not the payment was made as it was their duty to take him to his appointment.
Chin, who is the brother of Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips, was nabbed on Monday and charged with possession of cocaine, dealing in cocaine, attempting to export cocaine, and conspiracy to export cocaine following the seizure of 12 kilograms of the drug.
The judge launched a broadside against the police and prosecution after King’s Counsel Peter Champagnie painted a grim picture of the treatment that his client had been subjected to since his arrest and stressed that he feared that the worst might happen if he remains in custody.
The Gleaner was informed that Chin’s condition was a result of problems with his kidney.
Champagnie, during his bail application, told the judge that his client requires dialysis treatment every other day and that he has a massive tube inside his heart leading up to his throat, which also needs constant care and at present was in a bad state as it was starting to smell.
The lawyer also pointed out that his client required a special diet excluding salt, sugar and meat.
But he told the court that his client was forced to miss his appointment on Thursday after the police at Half-Way Tree lock-up chose not to take him.
The prosecution, in response, said that the police had initially refused to take food from Chin’s wife before they were told that he required a special diet. Further, to that, the clerk of the court said that Horizon Remand Centre has agreed to accommodate Chin and all his needs will be better addressed there.
The prosecution, however, maintained that it was still of the view that Chin is a flight risk as it appeared he had escaped from the airport when the cocaine was discovered.
But the judge in coming to a decision said although she has confidence in the personnel at Horizon, she is aware of the shortcomings in the system that may further jeopardise Chin’s health and as such was putting back his care in the hands of his family.
As a result, she granted him $700,000 bail on humanitarian grounds with daily reporting conditions and curfew. He was also ordered to surrender his travel documents and stay in Mona.
Allegations are that Chin was attempting to board a flight to the United States of America about 7 a.m. on Monday when a search of his luggage was conducted and the illicit drug with an estimated street value of US$600,000 was allegedly found.
Chin is to return to court on February 10.
Attorney-at-law Hadrian Christie also represents Chin.