Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Judge orders release of convicts in Mario Deane case

Published:Thursday | July 30, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Mario Deane ... was beaten on August 3, 2014 while in custody at the Barnett Street Police Station, in Montego Bay.

Christopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

High Court Justice Glen Brown has ordered the release of Marvin Orr and Adrian Morgan, the inmates who have pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to the 2014 death of Mario Deane.

In ordering their release, the judge said the men had been in custody since their arrest nearly six years ago.

According to the judge, over the period they were waiting for their case to be heard, they would have served the minimum prison time of five years for the offence of manslaughter.

"The sentence of the court is five years and six months at hard labour, and the sentence is already served, so they should be released forthwith,” said Brown.

The judge also briefly addressed how mentally ill persons are treated by the criminal justice system, an issue which was brought to the forefront due to the fact that Orr and Morgan are both affected.

“In respect of mental illnesses, our society is hypocritical. When somebody who is mentally ill comes to court, persons see them and want to lock them away and throw away the key, but at the same time when they are in custody too long, they say ‘what a wicked system'," said Brown.

Mario Deane was beaten on August 3, 2014 while in custody at the Barnett Street Police Station, in Montego Bay.

He had been arrested for possession of a ganja spliff.

Deane died three days later at the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

Orr and Morgan, who were also in custody at the Barnett Street lock-up at the time, were subsequently arrested and charged with the murder.

However, on Wednesday after being deemed fit to plead, they both pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Their release follows that of a third defendant, Damion Cargill, who in 2017 was judged as unfit to plea and was then released into his family’s care.

Police corporal Elaine Stewart and constables Juliana Clevon and Marlon Grant were also arrested and charged with manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, and perverting the course of justice, in relation to Deane’s death.

They will stand trial on September 21.

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