Gabriel King’s murder case ‘at a standstill’
• Police still awaiting access to mom’s phone that has ‘communication’ vital to investigation • Leon Issa reportedly now in Canada; could face arrest for defying court order
A mobile phone belonging to Amoi Leon Issa has “communication” that could help untangle the mystery surrounding the barbaric murder of her nine-year-old son, Gabriel King, a high-ranking police investigator has disclosed. The nature of the...
A mobile phone belonging to Amoi Leon Issa has “communication” that could help untangle the mystery surrounding the barbaric murder of her nine-year-old son, Gabriel King, a high-ranking police investigator has disclosed.
The nature of the communication was not revealed.
An attorney for Leon Issa has, however, rejected the claim, labelling it a “disingenuous” attempt by the police to cast her “in a very bad light”.
The iPhone is in the possession of the police.
But, more than a year after the crime that ignited public outrage, the investigation has now hit a dead-end, mainly because Leon Issa has not complied with a court order, made on September 6 last year, to disclose the phone’s passcode to the police, and her reluctance to cooperate with detectives, the police investigator claimed.
Immigration records have confirmed that Leon Issa left the island for Canada some time ago, according to the senior investigator who disclosed that she now faces arrest for not complying with the court order.
“As far as the police are concerned, the order for her to make the phone available for inspection is still live and there is an order at the airport by which she could be apprehended,” he explained.
Lawyers for Leon Issa are challenging the order because of privacy rights concerns.
But, according to the senior cop, detectives have reason to believe that the iPhone contains “communication that is linked to the investigation” of the child’s murder that took place in St James on the morning of January 13 last year.
“The police are of the view that there is communication made with the phone, we can’t say the owner of the phone, with regards to the incident that can shed more light on it,” the investigator, who declined to be identified because he is not authorised to speak publicly about the case, told The Sunday Gleaner on Thursday.
The veteran cop disclosed, too, that during the investigation, an interview with Leon Issa in the company of her attorney yielded no additional information.
“‘On the advice of my attorney, I do not wish to answer that question’,” he said, repeating Leon Issa’s answers recorded for a majority of the questions posed by detectives.
“The investigation is now at a standstill and it going forward is based on the availability of the phone so that our forensic expert can do the necessary enquiries into the data,” he added.
PRECEDENT TO GET ACCESS FROM TELECOMS PROVIDER
But Chukwuemeka Cameron, one of the attorneys representing Leon Issa, bristled at the claims, describing them as attempts by the police to “protect or to polish over their inefficiencies”.
He noted, as an example, that the police have the option of going to the relevant telecommunications company and getting access to all the phone data.
“The law allows them to go directly to the telecom companies without even having to go to court. So, to suggest that we are obstructing or impeding their investigation is not true,” the attorney told The Sunday Gleaner on Friday.
A retired judge confirmed that there is precedent for the police or the prosecution to get recordings of telephone conversations that are relevant to a case from the telecommunications provider.
“If a person refuses to hand over his or her phone or give the password or code for the phone to the police to assist in their investigation, then the police or the prosecution can apply for a court order for the telecommunications service provider to release the relevant conversations,” the judge told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.
The judge said there are court cases in which telephone recordings have been used to assist the prosecution to ensure that justice is done in several cases, which were provided by the telephone companies.
According to the judge, one such case was that of dancehall artiste Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer, who has been convicted of murder. “At the trial of Kartel and his co-accused, the two major telecom providers presented recordings of conversations which assisted the Crown’s case,” he said.
‘FUNDAMENTALLY NOT TRUE’
Cameron also revealed that Leon Issa, a businesswoman based in western Jamaica, wrote three letters to the police “trying to create an opportunity” to provide the requested information, but said, in each case, there was no response.
“So, that is fundamentally not true,” he said, referring to claims that his client has been uncooperative.
Cameron declined to discuss the offers his client made to the police, citing a constitutional motion filed in the Supreme Court that seeks to overturn the production order obtained by investigators last September.
“I would not want to go into the evidence before the court,” he explained.
The body of Leon Issa’s nine-year-old autistic son was found on the backseat of her Audi SUV in Fairfield, St James on January 13 last year with his throat slashed.
According to the police, Leon Issa reported that she was slapped in the face and dragged from the vehicle by two men, after she slowed down to navigate a pothole-riddled corridor while driving along the Tucker main road towards downtown Montego Bay at about 9:30 a.m.
The men sped off with the vehicle with Gabriel still on the backseat. Following a police report, a search led to the discovery of the vehicle abandoned on the Fairfield main road at about 11 a.m., with the body of the child soaked in blood.
A bloody knife that was found beside Gabriel’s body was confirmed to be the murder weapon, the high-ranking investigator disclosed, citing DNA analysis of the blood sample.
Other DNA analysis did not return a match to anyone already in the police database, he said.
The body of Gabriel was cremated on Friday, March 4 last year.
Additional reporting by Barbara Gayle