Former murder accused wins additional $60 000 in compensation

The State has been ordered to pay a man acquitted of murder an additional $60 000 for breaching his constitutional rights.

The payout ordered by Justice Cecil McCarthy on Wednesday, came a little over a month after Justice Shona Griffith awarded Pedro Deroy Ellis $75 000 for the 18 days he was detained even after being acquitted of murder.

Justice McCarthy also moved to ensure Ellis does not face trial for the murder of Antonio Harewood on May 5, 2013.

“Even though I have no official information from the DPP’s office, I can only assume he will not be re-tried in relation to any matter,” the judge said.

“In any event, out of an abundance of caution, I have made an order that (Ellis) should not be tried for any offence arising out of the facts that have resulted in his acquittal of the charge of murder, so that he can’t be tried for anything arising out of that.”

Just under two weeks ago, Justice McCarthy ruled that the former murder accused’s right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time, as well as his right to bail had been breached.

The quantum of the compensation however, was only handed down on Wednesday.

During his ruling, the judge expressed concern that the justice system was under-resourced and needed to be boosted to prevent matters similar to Ellis.

Justice McCarthy added that the lack of resources to deal with the backlog of cases was having a detrimental effect on the system.

The judge further commended Ellis’ lead attorney, Queen’s Counsel Larry Smith, who represented him throughout his cases along with Jamila Smith for the tenacity with which he was pursuing these cases.

He said it will “redound to the jurisprudence as well as the efficiency with which these matters are dealt with by the judicial system”.


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