A Victory for Millicent Forbes in Court of Appeal
Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is pleased that today the Court of Appeal granted final leave for Millicent Forbes, Janice Allen’s mother, to appeal her case at the Privy Council in London. This grant allows lawyers representing Ms. Forbes to appeal to the Privy Council to overturn the denial of leave for judicial review of both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
Janice Allen was only 13 years old when she was fatally shot in the back by a policeman. It seems a sad twist of fate that today was Janice’s birthday she would have been 21 years old. Ms. Forbes, though pleased with the ruling, was understandably wrought with emotion and wept with quiet dignity as she lamented, I don?t know what she would look like.
The legal challenges pursued in this case are unprecedented and today’s ruling is a welcome development. JFJ feels strongly that this particular case is one which cries out for judicial intervention in order to appropriately address the terrible injustice which was unleashed not only on Janice Allen, her family and the public, but also on the integrity of the judicial system.
Although a police officer was charged with Allen’s murder he was eventually acquitted. After the verdict
Allen’s family twice sought leave from the Supreme Court to allow for a judicial review of the verdict and the process by which it was obtained. The basis for the request for leave was that the acquittal was obtained by fraud upon the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the court, and that the administration of justice in relation to the case was perverted.
In both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal the application was denied on the basis that the acquittal at the Portland Circuit Court was not open to judicial review by a Supreme Court ruling because the courts were of equal jurisdiction.
In a dissenting judgment at the Supreme Court, the Honourable Mr. Justice Roy Jones wrote that the case ?has given rise to a great deal of cynicism on the one hand, and apathy on the other, regarding the administration of justice in our country. He further stated, ?When the integrity of the administration of justice is at stake, as it is now, this court has a duty to unleash its inherent powers: to maintain its authority; to prevent its process from abuse, and keep the stream of justice pure.
JFJ believes that this case has great significance for Janice’s family’s search for justice and even greater significance for the administration of justice in Jamaica. Ms. Forbes legal team is hopeful that the Privy Council will overturn the previous denials and allow for a judicial review into the matter.
The seven plus years it has taken to arrive at today’s ruling has been a long, hard struggle but the family now has renewed hope that justice will finally begin to be done. Ms Forbes struggle to invalidate the not guilty verdict in this case has required great strength and she must be commended for her unwavering commitment to justice for her daughter Janice.
For more information contact:
Carolyn Gomes: (876) 755-4524-6/382-8583
Susan Goffe: (876) 815-3648/970-4224