By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JUDGE has reserved his decision on whether it would be inhumane to allow a 64-year-old man with serious medical conditions to stand trial in four weeks concerning allegations of incest and attempted incest.
Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs had been asked by attorney Calvin Seymour, lawyer for a retired policeman accused of sexual relations with a ten-year-old granddaughter between August 2007 and December 2010, to determine that the accused could not stand trial on November 23 because of his impaired sight, diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure.
The elderly man is also accused of attempting to have sex with another ten-year-old granddaughter on May 23, 2012. He denied both allegations when formally arraigned in Supreme Court in December 2013.
A physician, whose name has been withheld to shield the identities of the accused and alleged victims, appeared in Supreme Court yesterday morning to give evidence concerning two examinations of the accused between December 2013 and September of this year.
The doctor told prosecutor Algernon Allen II that while the accused was not on dialysis for his kidneys, he had been placed on medication to slow the disease’s advancement to chronic levels and to also maintain control of his blood pressure and diabetes.
The physician said improvement was visible between the examinations but for the accused to stand trial would require him to take medication on time to control the development of the kidney disease.
He was physically fit enough to instruct counsel, the doctor said.
Mr Seymour asked the physician if pain and spasms documented in the reports could be from “wear and tear” of old age. The physician said it was and also could be due to blood sugar elevations.
Mr Seymour told Senior Justice Isaacs that while his client’s condition was improving, the court ought not to subject his client to go through the abuse of a trial.
“To put him here would be inhumane simply to secure a conviction,” Mr Seymour stressed, adding that “even the loss of his sight can impair the fairness of the trial”.
“The interests of the accused has to be balanced against public interest and that of the complainant and the only way for that to happen is for there to be a trial,” the prosecutor said in response.
“He will have competent counsel representing him and the physician said that there must be further assessment by an opthalmologist on his visual loss but there’s no evidence that he is blind. He has cataracts,” Mr Allen said, adding that “his cognition abilities are the same and the diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure does not interfere with his cognitive abilities.”
The prosecutor also argued that section 115 of the Criminal Procedure Code gives the court the discretion allow any part of trial to take place in the absence of the accused upon his agreement subject to terms agreed by all parties.