Vicious Killers Walk Free. Money .A Powerful Crime Lord .And A Complicit Court System…


The Following is a sto­ry pub­lished in the Jamaica Observer of Sunday, March 10, 2013 under the Authorship of Sybil E Hibbert a vet­er­an jour­nal­ist and retired court report­ing spe­cial­ist. She is also the wife of Retired ACP Isadore ‘Dick’ Hibbert, rat­ed among the top Jamaican detec­tives of his time.
See sto­ry here : Cheating’ wife freed of mur­der of musi­cian Carlton Barrett..

Any offi­cer sta­tioned at the Constant Spring (CIB) at the time knows full well that this ver­sion of events sur­round­ing this crime is sim­ply far­ci­cal.
The names of the accused , the judges and attor­neys are real and cor­rect , the way the case was dis­posed of is cor­rect but the offi­cers involved in this inves­ti­ga­tions were not named .
No one arrest­ed in this case was assault­ed in any way .
What this case rep­re­sent­ed is a much deep­er cor­rup­tion with­in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in Jamaica which sees a great piece of Police-work and impec­ca­ble detec­tive work reduced to noth­ing because of mon­ey, influ­ence ped­dling and pow­er­ful under­world crime fig­ures.
Here again is a rea­son why our courts can­not be trust­ed to do the right thing in dis­pens­ing jus­tice in our coun­try.

Officers engaged in this case recall how this case was inves­ti­gat­ed they also know that the police offi­cer named in this sto­ry had zero to do with solv­ing this crime.
At the appro­pri­ate time I will write in detail how this case was solved because a young con­sta­ble recent­ly attached to the Constant Spring CIB broke this case wide open using com­mon sense and per­sis­tent­ly refused to be ignored as this inves­ti­ga­tion was going nowhere.

ALBERTINE Barrett, wid­ow of Carlton Barrett, a for­mer drum­mer in Bob Marley’s Wailers Band, was on October 18, 1991, jailed for sev­en years along with the two men charged with her for con­spir­a­cy to mur­der her hus­band.

Carlton Barrett was a well-known musi­cian on the dance­hall cir­cuit at the time of his death. He was gunned down at his gate at 12 Bridgemount Park Avenue, Kingston 8 about 9:30 pm on April 17, 1987.

The late Justice Ellis (retired senior puisne judge) in pass­ing the sev­en-year prison term on Barrett and the oth­er two accused, remarked at the time that the case raised the fright­en­ing spec­tre of con­tract mur­der.

He said that a con­tract mur­der was very dif­fi­cult to solve because the con­trac­tor was a stranger to the vic­tim and police inves­ti­ga­tors there­fore had lit­tle to go on to find the killer.

You were the author of the plot,” the judge told Barrett as she stood in the pris­on­er’s dock await­ing her fate. She had been recent­ly mar­ried, the court was told, and was sev­en months preg­nant.

His Lordship added before impos­ing the sen­tence on her: “Your attor­ney, Tavares-Finson, in elo­quence and sin­cer­i­ty, men­tioned that you had lived a life of liv­ing hell with your hus­band, but it is my view that you could have (with)drawn from that with­out resort­ing to what you did.”

Sentenced with her were Glenroy Carter, 39, her reput­ed lover and taxi oper­a­tor of 15 Grayden Avenue, Kingston 10, and Junior Neil, 39, also called “Bang”, a mason, of 19 Seaward Drive, Kingston 11, whom the pros­e­cu­tion alleged was respon­si­ble for snuff­ing out the life of the deceased.

But by 1994, after hear­ing evi­dence and legal sub­mis­sions for 12 days — fol­low­ing two pre­vi­ous tri­als and a suc­cess­ful appeal to the Jamaican Court of Appeal — a jury retired for 25 min­utes and returned a not-guilty ver­dict in favour of all three accused. They were then acquit­ted.

Justice Bingham (lat­er judge of appeal now retired) presided at this tri­al in the Home Circuit Court.

The Crown had alleged that the three accused con­spired in 1987 to kill Carlton Barrett. Cautioned state­ments were alleged­ly giv­en by the three accused to the police in which they were alleged to have said that there was an agree­ment to kill him for a pay­ment of $20,000. These state­ments were ten­dered in evi­dence.

It was also part of the Crown’s case that pri­or to the mur­der, Carter, a Jamaican who resided in the USA, was on vaca­tion here when he met the accused Albertine Barrett and they became lovers. It was fur­ther alleged that the accused, Junior Neil, was con­tract­ed to car­ry out the killing.

In their defence, the three accused denied giv­ing the state­ments vol­un­tar­i­ly to the police. They claimed they were beat­en and forced to do so.

Barrett and Carter were tried twice for the mur­der.

In the first tri­al, the jury failed to arrive at a ver­dict. In the sec­ond, Justice Panton (lat­er pres­i­dent of the Court of Appeal) ruled that Barrett’s cau­tioned state­ment was inad­mis­si­ble, as the pros­e­cu­tion had not proven that coer­sion played no part in the tak­ing of her state­ment.

The judge said then that he laid no blame on Detective Superindent Donald Brown (lat­er ACP retired), who had tes­ti­fied. Carter’s state­ment was admit­ted into evi­dence and he was freed by the jury.

Barrett was defend­ed by attor­neys Tom Tavares-Finson and Dr Paul Ashley; and var­i­ous­ly by attor­neys K D Knight, QC (lat­er gov­ern­ment min­is­ter), Bert Samuels and Norman Harrison. Neil was rep­re­sent­ed by attor­neys C J Mitchell and Gayle Nelson.

The Crown’s case was pre­sent­ed at var­i­ous times by Lloyd Hibbert, deputy direc­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions (now judge of the Supreme Court); Yvette Sibble, assis­tant direc­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions; Lancelot Clarke, assis­tant direc­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions; and Crown Counsel Cheryl Richards.

A Home Circuit Court judge and jury lat­er heard from Detective Superintendent Brown that a team of detec­tives head­ed by him began car­ry­ing out inten­sive inves­ti­ga­tions imme­di­ate­ly after the mur­der.

Brown had giv­en evi­dence lat­er, at an ‘in cam­era’ tri­al, that the inves­ti­ga­tions led to the arrest of the three accused and they each gave cau­tioned state­ments admit­ting that they were involved in a plot to kill Barrett.

Giving evi­dence in the hear­ings was Oswald Brown, a jus­tice of the peace (JP), who tes­ti­fied for the Crown. He said he was present when Barrett and Carter gave cau­tioned state­ments to the police.

Harold Nembhard, also a JP, said he wit­nessed a cau­tioned state­ment giv­en by Neil.

In these state­ments, which were ten­dered in evi­dence and read to the jury, the three accused alleged­ly admit­ted con­spir­ing to mur­der Barrett.

Carter and Albertine Barrett were alleged to have said in their state­ments that they went to the cor­ner of Seaward Drive and Molynes Road where they saw Neil, o/​c “Bang”, and asked him if he knew of any­one who could ‘bump off’ a man.

Albertine Barrett is alleged in the state­ment to have giv­en “Bang” a pho­to­graph of her hus­band, as well as the licence num­ber and make of the car he drove.

All this evi­dence was revealed at a sub­se­quent tri­al, the result of Justice Patterson order­ing a retri­al.

All three accused were this time con­vict­ed for con­spir­a­cy to mur­der Barrett, a jury hav­ing failed to arrive at a unan­i­mous ver­dict in respect of mur­der against Barrett and Carter.

At that first tri­al in 1988, when the case was called, Deputy DPP Hibbert had informed the court that there was a new indict­ment — con­spir­a­cy to mur­der Carlton Barrett — in respect of Neil, who would be tried at a lat­er date.

Neil was remand­ed in cus­tody pend­ing the out­come of the mur­der charge filed against the oth­er two accused.

The retri­al took place in 1990 when Carter and Barrett were freed by a jury of the mur­der charge.

But by 1991, after the con­vic­tion of all three for con­spir­a­cy to mur­der result­ed, an appeal to the Court of Appeal suc­ceed­ed. Again, a new tri­al was ordered.

Finally, in November 1994, a Home Circuit Court jury, after hours of delib­er­a­tion, returned not-guilty ver­dicts in favour of all three accused per­sons and they walked free.

Testifying in his defence, dur­ing the peri­od, Neil told the judge and jury that he was beat­en by the police and then giv­en a state­ment to sign. He said that a piece of con­crete with wires was tied to his tes­ti­cles and he was told to walk.

It feel like it was draw­ing down my bel­ly, draw­ing down inside of me. I could not take it any­more and so I signed,” Neil told the court.

He added that Superintendent Brown showed him where to sign.

Barrett wept as she told the court, in sworn tes­ti­mo­ny, that her hus­band, who had been a drug addict, used to beat her.

She relat­ed sev­er­al acts of cru­el­ty done to her by him over an extend­ed peri­od, but she denied plot­ting with any­one to kill him. She admit­ted that she had been engaged in an affair with Carter while liv­ing with her hus­band but claimed she knew noth­ing at all about how he met his death.

Carter, who also gave sworn tes­ti­mo­ny in his defence said that he had heard that the police were look­ing for him, and on April 22, 1987, he went to the Constant Spring Police Station. There, he gave a state­ment to the police, deny­ing that he knew any­thing about the mur­der of Carlton Barrett. He was also ques­tioned about his fam­i­ly, he stat­ed.

He said that after he was ques­tioned, he was tak­en to Red Hills police sta­tion and on April 24, he was giv­en a state­ment to sign. He said he signed it because he thought it was the state­ment which he had giv­en to the police on April 22.

Carter fur­ther told the court that he could not read and denied that he had giv­en any cau­tioned state­ment to the police.

He said he met Albertine Barrett in January 1987 and they had a rela­tion­ship. But he insist­ed that he did not know any­thing about the mur­der of her hus­band.

The two accused said the police forced them to sign the cau­tioned state­ments and both said they were beat­en by the police.

They were cross-exam­ined by Deputy DPP Hibbert, and Assistant DPP Sibble.

Carter also called a wit­ness to sup­port his claim that he was at home at the time when Carlton Barrett was killed.

However, there was an inter­est­ing turn of events in this tor­tur­ous tri­al when, in June 1990, Bert Samuels, appear­ing for Carter, sought and was grant­ed per­mis­sion to with­draw from the case on the grounds that he was not prop­er­ly instruct­ed by his client and so could no longer appear for him.

Samuels also point­ed out at the time to Senior Puisne Judge Chester Orr (now retired) that Carter was lan­guish­ing in cus­tody because he could not take up his $100,000 bail and that, too, affect­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of coun­sel get­ting prop­er instruc­tions.

Tavares-Finson, coun­sel for Albertine Barrett, told the court then that he was ready to pro­ceed with the retri­al, where­upon the case was set for men­tion in the Home Circuit Court on June 25, 1990 so that a lawyer could be assigned to rep­re­sent Carter.

But by December 1990, when the mat­ter next came before the court for tri­al, Samuels was vig­or­ous­ly mak­ing a no-case sub­mis­sion on behalf of Carter, after such a sub­mis­sion by Tavares-Finson and Dr Ashley had been ear­li­er upheld by the tri­al judge on Albertine Barrett’s behalf.

Justice Panton had ear­li­er ruled that there was a case for Carter to answer. But after giv­ing evi­dence on his own behalf, sup­port­ed by a wit­ness, Carter as found not guilty of Carlton Barrett’s death.

Four years lat­er, all three accused suc­cess­ful­ly appealed their con­spir­a­cy to mur­der charge, and were final­ly set free.

Sybil E Hibbert is a vet­er­an jour­nal­ist and retired court report­ing spe­cial­ist. She is also the wife of Retired ACP Isadore ‘Dick’ Hibbert, rat­ed among the top Jamaican detec­tives of his time.

In due course I will write the true events as they occurred.….