By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A SUPREME Court judge yesterday remanded a man on bail for murder to prison for causing a mistrial in his own case by allegedly “approaching” a member of the jury panel.
Justice Carolita Bethel issued her deliberation after having found out that Jason Glinton, the accused in the October 2012 murder of Fortis Moncur in Cat Island, allegedly “approached” a female member of the 12-member jury outside court sometime after December 23, the day of his previous appearance.
Along with being remanded to prison, Glinton also faced the possibility of having his bail revoked, a proposal by the prosecutors Kendra Helly and Linda Evans. Justice Bethel ultimately decided otherwise, however, standing the matter down until January 7. However, along with remanding Glinton to prison, Justice Bethel required that a full compliance report on Glinton’s bail conditions be delivered by Wednesday and requested the defendant’s lawyer, Murrio Ducille, present her with video footage of the confrontation.
Throughout the deliberations yesterday, Justice Bethel expressed remorse at the allegations, saying that after five weeks of proceedings which started on November 24, Glinton’s actions brought the “entire matter” to an “abrupt end”.
When yesterday morning’s proceedings started, Justice Bethel promptly addressed a report given to her by her bailiff that one of the jurors had been approached by Glinton a week previously. The juror, when asked by Justice Bethel to give her recount of the alleged confrontation, said she was in Home Fabrics in Palmdale, when Glinton, also in the store at the time, allegedly “approached” her and “felt it necessary to have a conversation” with her.
She said she “wasn’t scared or anything,” but said with respect to her jury duties, which prohibits contact or conversation between parties and members of the jury for impartiality purposes, she “disappeared” from the scene. The juror subsequently reportedly told the bailiff in the presence of the other jurors, who then reported the matter to the judge.
Justice Bethel questioned the juror’s claims, inquiring as to what made her come to the conclusion that Glinton wanted to hold a conversation. The juror, in response said: “Why else would he have a conversation? He came to me.”
Justice Bethel, appearing distraught, discharged the 12 panel jury from the room, turning her attention to Glinton, who immediately refuted the allegations. He acknowledged that he was in Home Fabrics at the time of the alleged confrontation, but denied that he “approached” the juror.
Instead, Glinton purported to have merely issued a simply “hello” as the juror allegedly passed him by chance in the store. He also testified that he had previously encountered another juror while catching the bus, at the time allegedly saying “Good afternoon” to the individual.
He also suggested that a video of the confrontation could be obtained from the security cameras in Home Fabrics, which would prove his innocence in the matter.
Shortly thereafter, the prosecution contended that Glinton’s bail be revoked. The prosecution contested that after five weeks of proceedings, Glinton should have known not to converse or interact with any members of the jury.
Glinton’s lawyer Murrio Ducille challenged the proposal, arguing that bail was “never intended to be punitive but to ensure that the person shows up for their hearing,” something, he added, Glinton had done since the initial proceeding. However, Justice Bethel argued that regardless of the technicalities of the confrontation, the incident was “compelling enough” for the juror to report it to the bailiff.
After saying that “five weeks have been wasted” because of Glinton’s actions, she remanded him to prison. She also requested a full compliance report of Glinton’s bail conditions, and requested the defence provide her with footage of the confrontation.
Glinton is charged with murdering Moncur sometime between October 5 and October 18, 2012. Moncur’s charred remains were discovered by police after officers were notified of a “strange odor” in the area of a track road in Devil’s Point, Cat Island.