A YEAR OF PAIN - ... but Jasmine Deen’s dad still hopeful
Lloyd Deen says he is not giving up hope on finding his daughter Jasmine, the University of the West Indies student who has been missing since February 27, 2020.
"Mi still feel like mi a go see her again one day," he told THE WEEKEND STAR. "I won't let go until I see her again. It pain mi and mi just want all of this to end."
The disappearance of Jasmine, who is visually impaired, sparked widespread public outcry, which propelled Deen, the police, and residents in Bull Bay to search frantically for her. To date, all efforts to find Jasmine have been futile.
The public have vigorously demanded answers from the police, whose only breakthrough in the case came in June when they arrested Gregory Wright, 36, and Tamar Henry, 40. They were charged with possession of identity information, eight counts of unauthorised access to computer data, and simple larceny.
Henry was also charged with breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Deen, 56, said that he has not received an update from the police since October when the accused last appeared in court.
"I don't know what I will do. Saturday will make one year since my daughter went missing and all I feel is the pain from her memory. I feel empty," he said.
Under the Jamaican Constitution, a missing person is presumed dead after seven years. However, Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey, during a press conference last year, said that murder charges would be pursued by the police the day following the one-year anniversary of Jasmine's missing person report. However, Bailey was tight-lipped when THE WEEKEND STAR contacted him for an update.
No new update
"There is no new update this time, but they (Henry and Wright) are still in police custody. They have been charged for other offences, but we don't know yet (about new charges). We will issue an appropriate release when we make a determination," he said.
Should the police attempt to charge the men with Jasmine's murder, despite a body not being found, they would have to submit a no corpus delicti case to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
"We have to be provided with materials from which you can infer that there is a nexus that a murder has occurred and that it was the accused who murdered the person," said DPP Paula Llewellyn. Referencing the convictions in the infamous Vybz Kartel trial, Llewellyn said that once the police meet the requirement of the law, it is possible for her office to prosecute someone for murder without strong physical evidence of a body.
"It all has to do with circumstantial evidence, but there are principles of law involved to do with circumstantial evidence. In other words, when you look at all of the different features that are presented together, they must satisfy the tribunal that one, someone was in fact murdered, and two, that it was at the hands of the accused. If it is insufficient then you don't have a case," she said. "But the fact that the police have presented something, we still have to assess it with our knowledge of the law and with our experience to see whether there is a viable case for prosecution because ethically, if there is no viable case for prosecution, then it would be unethical to put it up."