Thursday’s release of three high-profile members of the notorious Coke family and four others on murder and gang-related charges served as a blow to law-enforcement and justice officials who have pitched the crushing of mafias as a key goal to collar crime.

Cheers, tears, and shouts of “Freedom!” greeted the seven who were conditionally freed because the prosecution did not have the smoking gun to press conviction as the police had difficulties locating the two main witnesses.

The seven – Andrew Coke, Lanchester Coke, Michael Coke, David Biggs, Delmarco Cephas, Wayne Page, and Iesha Jones – were transported home from the courthouse after Justice Leighton Pusey upheld a nolle prosequi that had been entered by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) to suspend the matter.

A conditional nolle prosequi means that although the case is discontinued, it can be put back before the courts if the witnesses are located or if a decision is taken to rely on witness statements.


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