No parole until 2070

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DESPITE calls for leniency from community members in May Pen, Clarendon and in Mandeville, Manchester, where former police constable Collis “Chucky” Brown once lived, and a glowing community report, the ex-policeman was yesterday sentenced to three life sentences for the murder of three men in Clarendon and was ordered to serve 51 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

The 42-year-old father of five who was dressed in a black, grey and red vest, black shirt and pants, was sentenced for the 2009 murder of Damoy ‘Gutty’ Dawkins and the 2012 double murder of Dwayne Douglas and Andrew Fearon in Clarendon. “Thank you, Judge,” he said when sentence was handed down.

Justice Vivene Harris, in handing down the life sentences yesterday in the Home Circuit Court, ordered that Brown, who appeared sad but calm, to serve 20 years before being eligible for parole with respect to the killing of Dawkins and 31 years before parole for the double murder.

“The taking of three lives demands a certain level of punishment and in this case the manner in which the men received their deaths was done in such a way to deceive the public,” the judge said, noting that the men were shot multiple times, and in their heads.

“Today is a very sad day for the Jamaica Constabulary Force as this case has brought the JCF and the administration of justice into disrepute,” she added.

Justice Harris, who described the convict’s action as being “absolutely shocking and atrocious”, said that a high crime rate does not justify the men’s murder and that every individual despite his or her bad reputation has a constitutional right to due process.

“This cannot be the solution to crime,” she said.

Brown, who served 21 years in the force and had been in custody for the last five years was found guilty on three counts of murder, wounding with intent on conspiracy to murder and November 18 of last year following a near eight-week trial.

During the proceedings yesterday, he was ordered to serve the maximum sentence of eight years for conspiracy to murder because of his action, which the judge described as being an “extreme, moral turpitude” – an act or behaviour that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community. As it relates to the wounding with intent charge he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Justice Harris, however, ruled that the sentences handed down on the charges of conspiracy to murder, wounding with intent and the murder of Dawkins are to run concurrent but consecutive to the other two murder charges which are to run concurrently.

Evidence was led in court during the trial that the three men were killed by Brown, who was part of a special squad of police officers in May Pen tasked with the job of eliminating gangsters and bad men in the parish.

The trial also accepted evidence given by Brown to the Independent Commission of Investigations, via an interview that the squad was established by a senior member at the police station who supplied the team with motor vehicles, ordinary shotguns and keep-and-care M16 rifles, as well as money for them to purchase firearms which they would plant on some of the victims and or when then became short on guns that they would normally be given from the May Pen Police Station’s armoury.

Justice Harris while handing down the sentence said the manner in which the conspiracy was done was egregious.

Prior to the handing down of the sentences a glowing community report and antecedent were read in court.

Community members from both Clarendon and in Manchester all begged for mercy for Brown.

Those in Clarendon said Brown was very cool, neighbourly and helpful and was never viewed as a bad man before the trial and that he was someone who would call to check up on the elderly members of the community.

Additionally, the said they were shocked by the information that came out during the trial, but that while he was in Clarendon shootings were high.

They said despite the allegations, Brown deserved a second chance, as it was possible that he was set up.

Similar sentiments were expressed by those from Manchester who noted that he was a good fellow, a hard-working policeman and asked the court to temper mercy with justice.

Brown’s nephew, who was interviewed, said that the former policeman was regarded by his family as being very hard-working and that the family was in shock and disbelief over his conviction.

The convict’s glowing community report and antecedent, in which it was mentioned that he was married, that he was a regular churchgoer and had no previous brushes with the law, earned him a discount of four years on his murder sentences. A further five years was also shaved off for time already served.

Brown’s lead attorney, Norman Godfrey, during his plea in mitigation, joined the call for the court to be lenient, while asking the judge to be courageous and not to sentence his client to the usual maximum sentences.

“Mr Brown is not a person who requires to suffer the kind of sentence which is retributive, neither is he the type of person from whom the society needs protection.

“I would say, maybe rehabilitation or maybe reorientation is what is required and I don’t know if such can be successful [if] he is required to be kept away from society for an inordinately long time,” the lawyer said.

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