‘Dog Paw was a good youth’ - Attorney of 17 years said society should have made better use of reputed gangster
Diane Jobson, the lawyer who represented reputed gangster Christopher ‘Dog Paw’ Linton from he was a teenager, said she found him to be charismatic and a natural-born leader. She said that it is “a pity that the society didn’t make good use of those characteristics ... rather than treat him like a fugitive from justice, or a man that should be feared or gunned down like an animal”.
Linton, 35, who the police said was linked to several murders and shootings, was on Monday cut down by lawmen following a reported gunfight in Elletson Flats, St Andrew. His death comes six months after he was released from prison.
The police have, for years, said that Linton was a violence producer in sections of St Andrew. He and Micah Allen were sentenced to 15 years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm and 15 years for shooting with intent in 2013. However, in April, they were set free by the Court of Appeal.
Jobson said that from her interactions with him, she found him to be “very intelligent”. She also said that he was “a good youth” who she surmised, more than anything else, wanted be a father to his children and to live a productive life. She also said that he had a positive influence on his community of Tavern.
“When they had him incarcerated is when all the crimes and the gangs rose up. So he was obviously maintaining a kind of discipline and so on in that community. I know he also contributed to basic schools. He was a positive influence. Those were the things I knew about him as a person,” she said.
While he is widely viewed throughout the society as a bad man who unleashed terror through the use of gun violence, Jobson, a senior attorney, said that there were “many sides” to Dog Paw, one of which was that he was sensitive.
“I recall that he wrote beautiful poetry and songs. I even once suggested to him while he was in captivity, and was writing, to publish a thing of his poems because it would have been surprising to know that he had that sensitive side to him,” Jobson told THE STAR yesterday.
She also said that from her interactions with him, Linton was a very devoted son. She said that he wrote a poem honouring his mother, Claris Senior. The poem, which she said was titled Mama, spoke about the positive role she played in his life.
Jobson said that her interactions with him led her to conclude that he was a dedicated father.
“I recall years ago, before he was taken in custody, he had gone to the school where his son was, because he heard the son was having a little bit of problem with a student at the school, so he had gone to speak with the teacher. This was when he was a person of interest for the police, and he took the chance to go there.”
A past student of Jamaica College, Jobson said Linton “was no fool”.
“The fact is that it is another potentially worthfull life that they have snuff out. I don’t know what the circumstances were that he was shot and killed, but I am sure it wasn’t something that they could not have taken him into custody without killing him,” the lawyer said.
The Independent Commission of Investigations, the body charged with investigating alleged instances of abuse by the security forces, has asked members of the public to “share any information that will be useful to this investigation”.
Borrowing a line from a Bob Marley song, Jobson said that Linton was the product of a society that did not harness his potential.
“‘ Oh Jah, not the one who pulled the trigger, but the one who set him up’, and when the society set up a system that crime is a viable alternative, that is the sad part of it all,” she said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referenced August Town as being the community from which Christopher ‘Dog Paw’ Linton hailed. He was, in fact, a resident of Tavern in St Andrew.