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Witter Concerned About Mortar Use In Tivoli

Published: Friday May 3, 2013 | 12:44 pm1 Comment

Public Defender, Earl Witter – File
Monique Grange, Assistant News Editor – Radio

The Public Defender, Earl Witter, believes the use of mortar rounds during the Tivoli Gardens operation requires close judicial evaluation.

In his Interim report into the joint police/military operation, Witter pointed out that the use of mortar rounds and or heavy explosive devices in such a densely populated residential area, should be investigated.

A mortar is described as an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as (mortar) bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories.

The Public Defender says the JDF’s explanation that the use of mortars was justifiable may be challenged on the basis of irrefutable evidence of the deleterious effect of what was described by Tivoli residents as bombs.

According to the Public Defender, autopsy findings confirmed at least one death as being directly attributable to the discharge of an explosive device.

He noted that no evidence of gunshot trauma was reported by the pathologists in relation to that killing.

Witter disclosed that autopsy reports also indicate injuries which may have been inflicted to the bodies of three other related victims by exploding rounds.

He also stated in his report that a number of dwelling houses were completely destroyed by fire sparked by mortar rounds.


The JDF, which had previously said it was unaware of the use of such force, confirmed in June last year that its members used mortars as part of the May 2010 operation aimed at capturing Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.

That admission came after the publication of US cable reports which indicated that the JDF had in fact used mortars during the operation.

In its explanation, the army said the mortar rounds that were fired were well targeted and directed and their use not only accurate and effective, but justified and necessary in order to achieve the operational objectives.

However, the public defender’s report raises questions about the veracity of the JDF’s assertion.

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