Coroner’s Jury Delivers Verdict in the Imran Ferguson case
Monday, January 19, 2015, Kingston, Jamaica – The Coroner’s Jury in the inquest of Imran Ferguson ruled on the 13th January 2015 that a charge of Manslaughter by Criminal Negligence be laid against unnamed persons. The jury also found that the cell guards and their supervisors were grossly negligent in their duty in ensuring the safety of the deceased whilst in their custody. Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) welcomes this verdict.
Imran, 23, died on January 19, 2010 after being taken from the Spanish Town Lock-Up to the Kingston Public Hospital. Mr. Ferguson was offered bail on January 10, 2010 after being charged for essentially causing a $10,000 crack to a windscreen of a motor car. The police failed to inform his family of the bail offer. Mr. Ferguson remained in custody from the January 10, 2010 until the 16th January 2010 when inmates drew the attention of the police to his ‘unconscious’ body. He was later pronounced dead.
The pathologist indicated at the Coroner’s Inquest that Imran sustained multiple blunt force impact to his body including his head. The injury to his head was caused by an instrument which could be a baton or stick. His skull was fractured into multiple pieces resulting in damage to the brain.
JFJ would like to thank Mrs. Arlene Harrison-Henry who worked tirelessly on this case. The organisation’s Attorney also assisted Mrs. Harrison-Henry in her efforts at the Coroner’s Court level.
JFJ anticipates that the DPP will review the verdict and take the appropriate action. The family of Imran Ferguson has been waiting from 2010 for justice in this matter. We pray that the appropriate State organs will play their role in ensuring that justice is afforded to this grieving family.
The death of Imran Ferguson and several other Jamaicans, recently Mario Deane, occurring while in police custody, prompted the intervention of the government in forming working groups last year to address the systemic problems plaguing detention practices in Jamaica. JFJ reiterates that the working groups must address actions that ensure the close monitoring of police conduct which partially stems from the entrenched, decades-old attitude that some police officers have towards people in the lower socioeconomic strata of the society.