Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

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The Liberia National Police needs to explain just why alleged shooter of Precious Ireland, Jovanus Oliver Turay has still not been criminally charged based on findings of the autopsy report which established that Precious Ireland was shot twice, apparently deliberately.

Additionally, is the mother being held criminally liable for allowing her son access to the weapon which she now claims belonged to the late Lauvette Williams, who passed away a little over three years ago? These are questions to which answers have not been readily forthcoming as one would normally expect from the Police.

Precious Ireland was shot to death by Jovanus Turay exactly a week today under circumstances that still remain unclear. The school authorities, probably smarting from the adverse public reaction of the killing on their campus hurriedly released a statement saying that the shooting was accidental.

Such an account would have probably gone unchallenged had the autopsy results not revealed that little Precious was shot twice at close range with bullet entry wounds on either side of her neck.

School authorities have tried hard to convince the public with a narrative that says the gun was accidentally discharged while attempting to show the gun to his classmate in a rather desperate attempt to prove that the gun was actually real and not fake as had been allegedly suspected by his friend and classmate who witnessed the shooting.

What were the motives and intent of shooter Turay for taking the gun to school in the first place? Did he have a crush on the girl who may have rebuffed him or spurned his overtures and as a result earned herself a death sentence?

Social media postings of the shooter in various poses with a gun readily conveys a picture of a gun-crazed youth. And such self-depictions strongly tend to suggest that perhaps the shooter was simply actualizing an act of revenge about which he had long fantasized.

The shooter’s father appearing on a social media podcast and tearfully apologizing to the Ireland family was careful to point out that his son did not mean or intend to kill Precious. How did he or does he know that his son did not mean to shoot and kill his classmate?

Can he justifiably claim that the postings on social media of his son posing with guns did not for once command his attention? No one can deny that a father will empathize with his son in such a situation but to claim on his behalf that he did not have intent to commit the act stretches it a bit too far. Is he asking the family of the slain child to just forget and let it go? Is he not man enough to see his son face justice for his actions?

According to sources, the shooter had behavioral problems and had reportedly been expelled from two different schools prior to his enrolment at the Cyber-Ed school. Was his father not aware of such developments? The mother reportedly told Police that the killer weapon (gun) belonged to her late husband.

But in a recent press statement the sisters of the alleged husband, Lauvette Williams have debunked her claim stating that their brother was a non-violent individual and devoted Christian who virtually spent the better part of his time at the Little White Chapel in Logan Town. Moreover, Lauvette Williams passed away three (3) years ago leaving all his personal belongings in her care.

At this stage it remains unclear whether the shooter’s mother lived alone or not. In case she does not live alone, it would then become necessary to quiz her current live-in partner or husband regarding ownership of the weapon which was carelessly handled and allowed to fall into the wrong hands.

Whatever the case, the Police needs to act with dispatch and forward the case to Court where the shooter will have the chance and opportunity to be heard in a court of competent jurisdiction. Already, there  is much and growing public disquiet about the delay in forwarding the matter to Court.

The expression, “Justice delayed is Justice denied”, comes into play here. Prolonged delay in concluding the investigation and bringing charges against the shooter will tend to convey the impression – however mistaken it would be – that big hands may be at work to subvert the prosecutorial attempts.

This must not be allowed to happen. We need not remind the Police that the Ireland family is grieving and a loss to explain why their child fell victim to such a vicious and cowardly act which the perpetrator’s family as well as school authorities are attempting to pass off as an ordinary mistake.

They need justice at least to help give them a sense of closure which appears to be eluding them by the prolonged delay in concluding the investigation and proffering charges. Once again the charge is placed before the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General and chief legal advisor to  the President, Cllr. Musah Dean. He is entreated to publish the results of the official autopsy and urged a speedy conclusion to the investigation without further ado for, “Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied”.

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