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Minister Musa Says a Distinction Between First- and Second-degree Murder is Needed

Both the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of Home Affairs have confirmed that Corporal Kareem Martinez used unjustifiable force when he shot and killed fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett. Martinez was slapped with a charge of manslaughter and tonight remains out on bail. Many are calling for the charge to be upgraded to murder but it would be difficult for the DPP to prove intent. This is why Home Affairs Minister Kareem Musa says there must be a distinction made between first- and second-degree murder. He says it is something he will push for in Cabinet.

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “What I want the government to consider and what I would want to take to Cabinet and I intend to take the Cabinet is a consideration of having a distinction in the type of murders in the country. So all we have currently is murder and manslaughter. In the United States I know we’re not a United States Colony but they have degrees of murder. First degree murder which is the intentional killing with malice, second degree murder which is intentional but you did not have the malice aforethought and so you intend to kill because you shot this individual. Some may want to equate that with manslaughter but they also have manslaughter under their legislation and so I think we have to look at maybe introducing that concept into our legislation to have different tiers of murder, first degree, second degree, third degree murder then go on to manslaughter because I think that is the issue tha we’re facing that whoever is in the seat of the DPP and like I said it is at the end of the day she holds an independent office I as minister cannot tell her although people think so ‘Please charge for murder.’ I don’t have that jurisdiction, I don’t have that liberty. She is an independent body just like a judge and she gets to decide. And if you ask me she has nothing to gain from this. She does not gain any money for charging for manslaughter, she does not gain any sympathy from the police or anybody else for charging or manslaughter but she has to charge for an offence which she and her office are able to prove and like I said murder would require proving malice on the party of the officer.”