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Mixed views on bid to secure death penalty for Rushane Barnett

Attorney Clyde Williams and JFJ Executive Director Mickel Jackson
 
There are mixed views from attorney Clyde Williams and human rights advocacy group Jamaicans for Justice following the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions filing of a Notice of Death Penalty in the Supreme Court on Tuesday for the sentencing of Rushane Barnett.
 
Mr. Barnett is accused of killing 31-year-old Kemesha Wright and her four children in Cocoa Piece, Clarendon last week Tuesday. 
 
Attorney Clyde Williams said while he does not believe the death penalty is a deterrent, the office of the DPP's intention to seek that penalty in this instance is valid, taking into account the "amount of trauma inflicted on those that were yet alive when the first death took place". 
 
Mr. Williams, who was a guest Wednesday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106, also suggested that the use of a knife as the murder weapon could have added to the gruesome nature of the killings. 
 
Post mortems are being done on the bodies of Ms Wright and her children. 
 
 
No 'eye for an eye'
 
But Jamaicans for Justice Executive Director Mickel Jackson has said the group does not support the death penalty.
 
Ms Jackson insisted that punishment is not a deterrent to crime.
 
She noted that if the accused is in fact found guilty, "rehabilitation would have to be considered, given that he is 23 years old". She also reiterated that the court has set out that a crime must be the "worst of the worst and rarest of the rare" for the death penalty to be considered.  
 
Further, Ms Jackson contended that the reimposition of the death penalty would be problematic in a country with a flawed justice system which disproportionately affects a certain groups of people, including the "marginalised poor, those who can't afford the top attorneys, [and] those who do not have the benefit of the due process that ought to be afforded of all of us". 
 
With the country already "quite violent", the JFJ executive director argued that it "cannot go down the road of an eye for an eye". 
 


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