The order by the Constitutional Court yesterday that the state is to pay almost $18 million for the extended detention of a reputed gang leader and former murder accused, Roshaine Clarke, is sending shockwaves through sections of law enforcement.

Clarke is otherwise called CJ.

William Mitchell reports.


In 2016, the police reported that Clarke was the leader of the western Jamaica-based, ‘Jesus Crusaders’ gang.

He was detained in connection with the murder of 28-year-old Jermaine Brown otherwise called Buddy who was shot and killed in Barrett Hall, St. James in June 2016.

Brown was found lying face down in a pool of blood on a dirt road with multiple gunshot wounds.

He was taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Allegations are that prior to the murder, Clarke had threatened Brown and accused him of being a member of the rival Jamaal Gang.

Clarke denied the allegations and was subsequently released.

The police say the murder of Brown had led to a bloody feud and several murders in the Barrett Hall and Wagon Wheel area of St James.

At one point when the case was before the court, Clarke was released on bail and ordered not to be seen in the Barrett Hall area of St James.

Prior to that incident, Clarke was no stranger to law enforcement.

In 2010, he was arrested and charged for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition but was freed of the charge.

In 2014, he was also charged with breaching the country’s lottery scamming laws and was placed before the court for a gun offence.

The outcome of those two cases are not immediately clear. Clarke had also denied wrongdoing in connection with those two charges.

Clarke was then detained in 2018 amidst an upsurge of violence in Barrett Hall.

However, he was not charged with a crime.

The Constitutional Court ruled that Clarke’s constitutional rights were breached and that he be awarded a total of $17.86 million, inclusive of compensatory, vindicatory and aggravated damages.

The ruling has stirred discussion in high level law enforcement circles as the police are contemplating their next move as they seek to reduce tension between the Jesus Crusaders and Jamaal Gangs.

Meanwhile Queen’s Counsel, Michael Hylton, who successfully carried the case on behalf of Roshaine Clarke, said the court found that his right to liberty was unduly abrogated due to the actions of the security forces.

QC Hylton also says the security forces’ detention of Mr. Clarke, long after a tribunal ruled that he be released, was the most egregious breach of all.

Queen’s Counsel, Michael Hylton.

He was speaking yesterday on Nationwide at Five.

Chevon Campbell contributed to this report.