JFJ Press Release: JFJ and Lyons Family Delighted at Arrest of Former Policeman Walter Spikes

JFJ and Lyons Family Delighted at Arrest of Former Policeman Walter Spikes  

Friday, 26 August 2011, Kingston, Jamaica – Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) and all the members of the family of Renee Lyons are delighted that the former policeman Walter Spikes who was charged with Renee’s murder will finally face justice.

In July 2003, 9 year old Renee Lyons was killed by a bullet to the head while playing in her front yard. This shot was alleged to have come from the gun of then Policeman Walter Spikes who was reportedly chasing a man with a ‘spliff’.  After five long months the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ruled that Mr Spikes should be charged with the Murder of Renee.  Unfortunately that delay allowed Spikes to abscond the jurisdiction and left the family devastated and at a loss as to how to get justice.

It has taken a further eight years for ex-policeman Spikes to be returned to answer to the courts for his alleged actions in the death of Renee, eight years in which the family have been left disillusioned and feeling abandoned by the justice system.  The return of this ex-policeman to answer to the charge of murder was not communicated to the family by anyone in the police force or the DPP’s office, and, though feeling delighted, they are astonished that they had to learn of Mr Spikes arrest through the media. Mr. Ranny Lyons, Renee’s father said “I would like to get some Justice from this terrifying event…the policeman must now stand up to him judgment”

 

This case raises a number of issues that have troubled JFJ over many years among them:

  • The delays in completing investigations involving police
  • The delays in getting rulings from the office of the DPP
  • The high number of policemen who flee the jurisdiction before they can be charged for their actions
  • The failure of the authorities to vigorously pursue these fugitives from justice.

JFJ feels, as does the family, that the arrest and deportation of the accused in this case sets an important precedent.   They hope that from here on the process through the justice system will be expedited given the long delays to this point in time which has left all the family traumatised.

JFJ wishes to remind the authorities who hold the power to make the necessary changes that there are dozens of other policemen who have fled the country rather than face the courts.  Efforts must be made urgently, to fix the delays and systemic weaknesses that allow them to abscond, as well as to ensure that they are brought back to Jamaica to face justice.  Along those lines we would ask the DPP to tell the public, what efforts have been made to find these fugitives and how many extradition requests have been made in these cases.

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