The third day of the trial of Michael McLean, the man accused of killing six persons, stalled for almost two hours today following the late arrival of the Commissioner of Corrections, Ina Hunter.
Ms. Hunter’s office is about 5 minutes down the road from the Supreme Court on King Street in downtown Kingston.
The prison boss was summoned by Presiding Judge, Justice Bertram Morrison to appear in court at 11:05 this morning.
The Judge was seeking answers with regards to the medical file of the accused who told the court earlier that he wasn’t feeling well after being stung by an insect. The accused says he visited the doctor at the Tower Street Adult Correctional facility about 5:30 this morning.
McLean told the court this morning he was ill and wasn’t eating or sleeping. This led Justice Morrison to inquire about a medical report detailing what happened when the accused visited the doctor at the prison.
However, no medical report was available. Justice Morrison then instructed the Court Registrar to contact the doctor to make himself available right away in court.
Following a brief adjournment, a prison overseer entered the courtroom. The man told the court the doctor had just started his shift and was not available.
What was sent instead was a large brown envelope with McLean’s medical files. The file detailed McLean’s visits to the doctor up to January 30.
On January 30, it said the accused was stung by a centipede otherwise called a 40-leg.
However further particulars about his ailment were not in the file. An annoyed Justice Morrison citing the urgency of the matter proceeded to summon the Commissioner of Corrections about 11:05.
Ms. Hunter arrived in court about 12:45 this afternoon. The upset Judge lashed out at Ms. Hunter telling her “I understand you are lodged only a couple minutes away from the court room.” He continued by stating “it took you from 11:05 to now to get here”- looking at the 12:45 time on the clock in the courtroom.
Justice Morrison said “this is low, it’s going to be reported in the press” He then asked, “Where is the doctor? “Where is the Orderly?”
Justice Morrison continued by stating that he needed to see all of McLean’s records as the file given to him earlier only had details up to January 30.
He stated that ‘something was amiss’ as he wasn’t seeing any records for February 2 and needed an explanation for it.
Ms. Hunter in her response first apologized for her tardiness. She then consulted a Superintendent from the prison who had accompanied her to the courtroom. She informed the court that the file was still at the hospital and the one given to Justice Morrison was ‘not updated.’
A dissatisfied Justice Morrison told Ms. Hunter that he could not accept her explanation because the delay and absence of the file had caused the court to lose a half day for a 12-year matter. He sternly told the Commissioner of Corrections that she needed to be at the Home Circuit Court on Monday morning at 9:30 with the file.
To this she responded ‘It will be done, sir.” Again, Justice Morrison stated, ‘if not… someone will be held in contempt of Court.’ The matter is to continue on Monday. The Crown’s sixth witness – a doctor, is also expected to take the witness box.