The lawyer for convicted murderer, Junior Jarvis,Kay Bacchus-Baptiste has described a social report on her client as ‘one sided’ and ‘unfair’.
Bacchus-Baptiste made her feelings known in High Court #1 yesterday, March 9, where Jarvis had gone to hear what will be his sentence for the shooting death of Randy Lawrence.
However, after hearing comments from Jarvis and his lawyer, High Court Judge, Brian Cottle adjourned the matter, therefore the sentencing of Jarvis has been pushed back by one day, to today, Friday, March 10.
Bacchus Baptiste addressed the issues in the social injury report which is dated January 30, that she is displeased with.
The lawyer said the report mentioned that interviews were conducted with persons at the prisons. It was said that Jarvis instigated other prisoners to not take meals as a form of protest. The defence attorney described the claim as ‘’unfair’’ and said her client was never given the opportunity to respond to the allegation.
She said that her problem with some social inquiry reports are that they tend to be one sided.
Bacchus- Baptiste told the court that she had a conversation with Jarvis and when she asked him if the allegations were true he told her that the prisoners had a plan to refuse to take lunch for only one day. She added that Jarvis said that he had no part to play in planning of this boycott but he was informed about it.
She said the prisoners were protesting because of the deplorable conditions in the prisons.
The lawyer argued that Jarvis was transferred to a different prison and she is of the view that ‘’the whole thing is to make him seem as though he was not behaving so they had to transfer him.’’
She also said that Jarvis felt targetted on different occasions and some officers accused him of ‘’murdering their friend”, when he was transferred. ‘’He had a terrible time dealing with them and if he responded he was looked upon as if he was doing something wrong’’ the lawyer said.
She pointed out to the court that while in prison Jarvis has twice participated in the Prisons Pubic Speaking Competition and he placed in the top three on both occasions. As well, that he was awarded most disciplined player for the prison football competition, and he has been a mentor and has helped other inmates. She also told the court that Jarvis has lent his baking skills to the prison bakery and has tried to restart the prison library programme.
Bacchus-Baptiste highlighted that while Jarvis was showing remorse this was not emphasised in the social inquiry report; his good behaviour was not mentioned.
She pointed out that there were 14 character responses and of the 14 there were 13 positive ones.
These responses all captured Jarvis as having good demeanour.He was described as being be a very cool, quiet and a good person. She also noted that some responders said that they have never seen Jarvis angry. However, Bacchus- Baptiste highlighted that the one negative comment was that the prisoner has a split personality. She said this comment came without any form of a psychological report. The lawyer said that a psychologist gave a report, and this did not say that Jarvis has a split personality. The lawyer said the accusations that were being made are not true and she asked the court not to feed off the comment as there is no credible evidence to support it.
In the conclusion of the report the lawyer pointed out that the social worker said that Jarvis was sorry for what he did. But, Bacchus- Baptiste said that he was extremely disappointed by the report because the report did not reflect the extent of his remorse.
Jarvis had also written a letter of apology in which he expressed remorse for his actions.
The lawyer also expressed her disappointment regarding the conclusion of the report. ‘’When you have these reports the state pays for it, the state requisitions it and sometimes you tend to get little biases. The conclusion is that the 14 people who said good things were put into one paragraph and the one person was put into two or three [negative] paragraphs, so when you read it it is not balanced.”
Bacchus-Baptiste also found unacceptable that the social worker merely reproduced statements that were made by the other victims without speaking to them.
She said that in the last paragraph it was stated that the social worker was not able to interview the women.
‘’I don’t think this is acceptable in a social inquiry report. I think there should be more [balanced] statements and if something is said about the accused, he should be given an opportunity to ask him so that he can respond…” the lawyer argued.
Nevertheless, she felt the social inquiry report overall, was positive.
She told Justice Cottle that she trusts he will take into consideration very seriously the points that she made, and she hopes that in future defendants will be given a chance to respond to some of the allegations made in social inquiry reports.