It was a hearing that Magistrate Conliffe Clarke had hoped to wrap up yesterday when he called the jury back to the courtroom for a second day.
However, neither the presiding magistrate, the family, the attorneys present nor the jury were pleased at the end of the proceedings as the coroner’s inquest into the death of Cordayro Joseph was adjourned until November 20.
Joseph, a prison inmate, was found hanging from the window of his cell on December 24 2018, which prompted a mandatory inquest to be initiated.
However, this was not completed prior to his burial, which led to questions surrounding his death.
The inquest finally began a year ago but took a dramatic turn when attorney Wendel Robinson, representing the deceased’s family, requested the hearing be quashed.
Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh subsequently discharged the jury.
Magistrate Clarke took over the inquest from Chief Magistrate Walsh and restarted the inquest from scratch in August 2023, with a new set of jurors.
At yesterday’s hearing, the jury heard from two expert witnesses, Corporal Lewis and crime scene manager Sergeant O’Garro, both attached to the Forensic Evidence Recovery Unit.
Both men explained that they kept notes of specific details about the prison at the time of their arrival each day in a single log book, but it was revealed that the log book had been misplaced prior to the hearing.
According to Sergeant O’Garro, he believed it was the first time that he was unable to locate a log book containing pertinent information prior to the case hearing.
Corporal Lewis also revealed that there was a thin string looped around Joseph’s neck which was hidden by the cloth-like rope shown in the photographs provided of the scene.
This, according to the two officers, was only revealed when they attempted to move Joseph from his hanging position and onto the prison bed.
No photographs of the string around his neck were reportedly shown or taken.
The matter took another frustrating turn when it was revealed that the string and cloth were not sent overseas for forensic analysis, but were stored in the police evidence room and were not present at the courtroom to be examined.
The magistrate then halted proceedings and chastised the officers for not having the evidence available for review at yesterday’s hearing, noting its significance to the jury’s deliberations.
Both the police prosecutor and attorney Robinson were also visibly annoyed by the fact, and the prosecutor requested a week to locate the two pieces of evidence and the log book.
The next date for the hearing will be November 20, as members of the jury, witnesses and attorneys present had challenges selecting a date in October due to their schedules.
Meanwhile, the mother of the deceased, Sheryl Joseph, said that she thought the judge had done everything possible to see an expeditious conclusion to this matter and that, after waiting for five years, she just needed the truth surrounding the death of her son to be revealed.
“Me personally, I would have preferred an earlier date … to get it over and done with because I start to feel stressed again, and I cannot afford to be stressed again.
“I rather wait and get the truth, than rush it and still be left without answers,” she told Observer.