The Independent Commission of Investigations, INDECOM, is reporting the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, to Parliament over its decision to terminate the murder trial of four policemen charged with the killing of entertainer Kentucky Kid, who’s given name is Robert Hill.
INDECOM has submitted a 56 page report to Parliament, outlining its opposition to the DPP’s decision.
INDECOM has been left frustrated by the decision of the DPP to end the case against the policemen charged for killing Kentucky Kid.
One of the fundamental concerns INDECOM has told Parliament, relates to the manner in which the DPP terminated the matter.
INDECOM notes that, not only did the DPP end the prosecution, but it did so by way of a formal verdict – not the usual nolle prosequi.
By terminating the proceedings via directed verdict, an acquittal was handed down barring any future proceedings.
INDECOM notes that it had no prior indication that the DPP was inclined to take this direction, stressing that there was NO consultation with the Commission or Hill’s family.
INDECOM further sought to discredit several of the other grounds outlined by the DPP for its action.
For instance, the Commission says the DPP discontinued the matter due to a lack of evidence to counter the argument submitted by the accused, that they shot the entertainer in self defence.
But INDECOM says based on its own conclusion, there’s a strong prima facie case that Hill’s right to life was breached.
It says the evidence reveals that his life was taken by unjustified use of force by agents of the state.
INDECOM blasts the DPP, noting in its report to Parliament that there was no effective prosecution in the case.
It says this view is supported by evidence that the accused officers carried out the killing, due to a private grouse.
According to INDECOM, scientific evidence does not support the allegation that Hill fired on the officers.
INDECOM further berated the DPP for not giving due consideration to the impact of the evidence of motive, which would’ve negated the self defence claim and really explain why the shooting took place.
The Commission wants the Solicitor General to consider compensating the estate of Robert Hill for the breach of his right to life.
INDECOM also used the report to further voice its concern over other matters related to the handling of the case.
It notes that though it recommended that it be deemed an interested party in the matter, it was forced to apply to the Coroner to become an interested party.
It also lamented the ease with which witnesses were allowed to refuse to give evidence, thus defeating the very nature of the proceedings.
INDECOM is calling for members of the Constabulary to be subject to internal disciplinary hearings concerning their use of force; false statements by one of the concerned officers; failure to involve other police officers in the operation in contravention of direct orders from superiors.
Meanwhile, INDECOM is calling for the amendment of the Coroner’s Act.
In its report to Parliament, INDECOM is asking for the abolition of the need for a jury at the inquest.
This, given the difficulties being experienced in convening a jury pool.
INDECOM says while it doesn’t discount the importance of jurors, such an amendment would bring greater efficiency to the proceedings.
INDECOM also wants additional Special Coroners to be appointed as the current workload cannot be left to a single Coroner.