BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 24th 2014 (CUOPM) – The St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force is condemning the allegations made by lawyer Chesley Hamilton and says it welcomes the call by Hamilton and Dwyer Astaphan for a public inquiry into the matter.
In a statement, the Defence Force Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Kayode Sutton noted that a news article appearing on the WINN FM Web site for Thursday July 17, 2014 entitled “Hamilton Supports Calls for Inquiry into Alleged Perjury by Soldier,” was drawn to the attention of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) High Command.
He noted that the article also featured an audio clip of lawyer Chesley Hamilton stating, in part, ‘This was conceived and executed from within the bowels of the armed forces at the army Camp Springfield. This is where it was done….,’
Captain Sutton said the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) strongly condemns the allegation made in the St. Kitts and Nevis media by lawyer Chesley Hamilton to the effect that a member of the Defence Force, who gave evidence in a recent murder case perjured himself and that the perjury plot was ‘conceived and executed…at Camp Springfield.’
“The SKNDF wishes to categorically state that there is absolutely no truth in Hamilton’s allegation. We are a professional body, and we wish to make it pellucidly clear to all that we will under no circumstances contravene the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis. “In fact, we call on Mr. Hamilton to be a good citizen and hand over to the relevant authorities any information that he possess to substantiate his allegation. We await his cooperation,” said Captain Sutton in the statement.
“In support of our position, the Force wishes to draw to the public attention a press release from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), a section of which states that neither during the trial or at its conclusion, ‘no adverse comment or criticism was made by the learned trial judge of any of the witnesses in this case, including the members of the Defense Force’,” Captain Sutton noted.
He said the DPP release also went on to say that: ‘It would be a gross misrepresentation of the facts of this case and this proceeding to say otherwise.’
Mr. Sutton stated: “While Lawyer Hamilton is trying to convince the general public that his successful defence of his client was due in large part to perjury on behalf of a prosecution witness, the SKNDF again draws the public’s attention to an article printed in The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer Newspaper for Friday July 18, 2014 which has “confirmed that the Office of the DPP has asked Assistant Commissioner responsible for Crime, Ian Queeley, to conduct the investigation into jury interference.”
He said in the statement that the Observer reporter claims that during the two week’s trial, “two jurors were discharged; one was an alternate and the other was the jury foreman. Further investigation revealed that another member of the panel was accosted in a manner which was intimidating…” The news article went on to quote the DPP as saying: “The Office of the DPP expresses grave concern and nurtures a conscious fear that the sanctity of the jury system and the criminal justice system as a whole was violated by the unsavory acts aforementioned.”
“While the SKNDF sees Lawyer Hamilton’s accusation as a malicious and crude attempt to besmirch the good name and reputation of the SKNDF High Command, Officers and other Ranks, and to sully the Force’s reputation, never-the-less, the Force joins him and Dwyer Astaphan in calling for a full and impartial inquiry into this matter,” said Capt. Sutton.
The statement added: “In addition, based on the information made available to the general public by the DPP’s office, the Defence Force supports the DPP’s office in initiating an inquiry into possible jury tampering during the trial of Erastus Laville.”