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Murder case dismissed, due to lack of evidence

Murder case dismissed, due to lack of evidence

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Three men from the Grenadine island of Union rushed from the Serious Offences Court yesterday, after a murder case against them was dismissed because of lack of sufficient evidence given by police officers.

“The police must be made to do their job and do it properly,” lawyer Grant Connell told the court shortly before the case against Ekron Thomas, Kemroy Craigg and Derrol Small was thrown out.{{more}}

The three had been charged with the August 1 2015 murder of Allington Caine, a 29-year-old security guard of Union Island, originally from Byera.

Reports are that Caine died after he received a puncture wound to his head, following an altercation at Stick Bar on Union Island.

During the preliminary inquiry, it was revealed that the altercation began during a card game at the bar that resulted in objects being thrown, one of which struck the deceased.

Lead investigator on the matter, Inspector Atland Browne, explained to the court that all persons involved in an offence that causes harm to an individual are held accountable, adding that based on his investigations, all three men struck the deceased at some point.

However, tension rose in court when Connell, who represented Thomas and Craigg, and Israel Bruce, who represented Small, cross-examined the testimony given by Browne, who is also head of the Major Crime Unit (MCU).

Browne, while on the witness stand, began to question the defence attorneys, which is contrary to normal court procedure. Normally, during cross-examination, counsel are allowed to ask questions and whoever takes the stand would answer said questions and not put questions to counsel.

When corrected by court prosecutor Station Sergeant Elgin Richards, Browne reprimanded him with a stern: “You are a station sergeant, relax!”   

“I never expected such childish behaviour from an inspector,” Connell commented.

“It’s very disrespectful; the magistrate was there, counsel was there,” he told reporters after the PI, adding that he is sure it would be addressed by the Commissioner of Police.

Bruce, who represented Derrol Small, corrected the inspector, urging him to follow the instructions of the prosecutor, although he is superior to him in rank.

Chief Magistrate Browne-Matthias then took charge of the courtroom, stating that she would return to her chambers until both parties were ready to conduct themselves.

Acknowledging the Chief Magistrate’s request, the parties simmered down and continued with the proceedings.

Connell then suggested that the investigation done by police was incomplete, to which the Inspector replied that it was indeed completed “to the fullest.”

After declining to re-examine Browne’s evidence, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche requested an adjournment, so that another witness could testify.

Connell, however, strongly objected to this. He argued that his clients had been in prison for months and some witnesses have never turned up to court. He further argued that the accused men should not be sent back to prison based on what he described as an “incomplete file” submitted by the police.

Connell also noted that Thomas had a medical issue for two months and since then no evidence has been given that he struck the deceased.

While agreeing with Connell, Bruce added that the case is “shambles,” which is evidence that the matter should be concluded.

Bruce stated that the court must take into consideration the length of time the men have spent in custody and discontinue the matter.

In light of this, the Chief Magistrate refused to grant the prosecution the adjournment. Browne-Matthias discharged the matter, stating that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed.

Last Thursday, the first human trafficking case to be reported here was also thrown out, making this the second case to be thrown out of the Serious Offences Court in three working days.(AS)

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