Peter King trial – Judge walks out of court hearing

Senior Puisne Judge Marva McIntosh walked out of court yesterday after defence lawyer Berry Bryan began shouting and screaming at her.

Bryan’s outbursts resulted in the judge later granting an early adjournment in the trial of 25-year-old Sheldon Pusey, who is charged with the murder of 64-year-old Ambassador Peter King.

Bryan was addressing the jury when he proceeded to mention to them certain rulings which the judge had made in the absence of the jury.

Prosecutor Caroline Hay objected to Bryan referring to the rulings in relation to tapes which were not in evidence and how the judge had ruled in relation to evidence to be given by a certain witness.

The judge told Berry he could not do that but Berry began shouting “I say it and I will say it again.” He also accused the judge of supporting Hay in her objections.

Abrupt departure

The judge then walked out of court while Berry was still shouting and screaming. She returned to the bench a few minutes later and apologised to the jurors for her abrupt departure. She then adjourned the court.

When the trial resumes today, Berry will continue to address the jury. He began addressing the jury on Tuesday shortly after the defence closed its case. Berry, in his address to the jury, accused the prosecution of suppressing evidence, in particular two knives which Superintendent McArthur Sutherland said he got from King’s house and took to the government forensic laboratory.

Pusey has been on trial in the Home Circuit Court since January 19.

The Crown is alleging that Pusey chopped and stabbed King at, his house at 11A Waterloo Road, St Andrew, between March 19 and 20, 2006.

Pusey said in his defence that he went to King about a job. He said King was forcing him to be intimate with him when he took a knife from a cup on a bedside table and stabbed King.

The Gleaner strikes again at Smith with this Editorial – 04.03.09

We apologise for focusing intently on the newspapers but the public domain has become “sensible” for want of a better word it seems, it is heartening to see the comments and level of discourse being waged.

In the absence of leadership
These days the name Ernest Smith is likely to conjure up an image of a character with a bulbous red nose, in baggy costume, riding a unicycle. Except that Mr Smith’s statements from the privileged sanctuary of Parliament are deathly serious and potentially deadly.

It is unfortunate, therefore, that Mr Smith’s political leader and Jamaica’s prime minister, Bruce Golding, has not yet found the will to confront him on the dangers of his incitement or to show visionary leadership on the gay debate.

Mr Golding prefers to be populist and expedient rather than standing for large principles, notwithstanding his statement – some will claim less than vigorous – in defence of the right to exist of organisations that promote gay rights.

This newspaper insists that the sexual orientation of an individual is of no concern to anyone but that person and his or her consenting adult sexual partner. And it is certainly not the business of the State, particularly one that professes to be a liberal democracy that believes in the primacy of the right of the individual as long as that person’s behaviour does not impinge on the rights of others. Nor do we expect the State to employ an army of voyeurs to peep into bedrooms to pronounce on sexual behaviour or orientation.

Rampant homophobia

In that context, it is not only archaic and silly, but an assault on human rights for Jamaica to maintain as a criminal offence the act of buggery, which is the basic expression of male homosexuality. The maintenance of this law helps to feed Jamaica’s rampant homophobia as well as fuel this sense of moral rectitude on the part of those who, with a sense of impunity, commit violence against gay people. They do it because the State is, by and large, compliant.

We do not believe that shifting public attitude against homosexuality, especially among males, is without difficulty, or that insistence on their right to be gay is part of a larger principle that must be upheld. But no one ever said the leadership is easy, of which we remind Mr Golding who used to take high-minded positions.

Intellectual

We can assume Mr Smith, the legislator/lawyer who has vigorously called for the proscribing of the gay-rights organisation J-FLAG and the prosecution of its members, to be an intellectual luddite who has reached an evolutionary dead end. So, despite his invitation for a trampling of the Constitution, we might as well laugh – even if we know better and are aware of the danger. Hate can be a poisonous chalice, particularly for its victim.

There is small comfort in the fact that Mr Golding, the leader of all Jamaicans, disagrees with Mr Smith on the issue of proscription. But Mr Golding remains consumed by the crowd, incapable, or afraid, on this matter to reach for the greater ideals of leadership. So, thumpingly, he equates siding with rational argument in this debate with ‘yield(ing) to the pressure’ for the repeal of the buggery law.

Usually, though, it is easier to be populist. And perhaps more so in difficult economic times.