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Confession bungle frees Glenn Jackson murder accused

Confession bungle frees Glenn Jackson murder accused

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‘PRICKLE WALKS’

A case that can arguably be described as one of the most controversial criminal cases in the past decade in St Vincent and the Grenadines was discontinued on Wednesday at the High Court In Kingstown.{{more}}

The peace and quiet outside the courthouse in Kingstown was quickly transformed into a sea of camera flashes, as Francis “Prickle” Williams, the man who had been accused of the murder of the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Glenn Jackson, walked away a free man, minutes after the prosecution threw in the towel and discontinued the matter against the Sion Hill resident.

On March 6, 2006, Jackson’s nude and lifeless body, with a bullet wound in the chest, was discovered in his vehicle, parked not too far from his home at Cane Garden.

The discovery sent shock waves throughout the country, and Government offered an EC$100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest, charge and conviction of his killer(s).

Scotland Yard detectives were also brought in to assist local police with their investigations.

After months of investigation, Francis Williams was arrested and charged on May 2, 2006 with Jackson’s murder. The preliminary Inquiry into Jackson’s death began on July 24, 2006. Following the testimony of some 30 witnesses, the matter was sent to trial in the High Court by then Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman.

Experiencing his first taste of freedom in almost two years, and bombarded by an arsenal of questions from the media, Williams’ first words were “Thank God!” With an enormous grin on his face, surrounded by family members, Williams added that his time spent behind bars was a horrific experience. “I am happy, finally free from jail, but I always knew that I would have gotten through. Them can’t tell lie all the time and get away with it,” stated Williams.

The prosecution had alleged that Williams made an oral confession to the police about what happened between him and Jackson. This alleged confession, was, however, ruled inadmissible by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle when he determined that there were numerous flaws in the police investigation.

“I feel real good after spending 21 months in prison. I was frustrated because if they had told the truth in the beginning none of this would have happened. All them things is hear say,” Williams pointed out.

Williams said while in prison, he used his time to pray and fast. Two years of prison food made Williams eager for some good home cooking. “Prison food is garbage, I want some good food now,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

As for his immediate plans, Williams told SEARCHLIGHT that he is going to the United States on vacation, and that he wants to learn how to fly a plane. “I am going to meet my Mommy overseas and relax a while,” he added.

One of Williams’ defense lawyers Kay Bacchus-Browne said that justice definitely won and that if the Director of Public Prosecutions had carried on the case, it would have been a grave travesty of justice. Bacchus-Browne added that there was just no evidence to convict her client and that the alleged oral confession was illegal and she was thankful that it was thrown out. The veteran lawyer added that it was the DNA evidence that cleared her client and pointed to some other unknown person.

A member of the prosecution team told SEARCHLIGHT that the strength of their case lied in the alleged confession. He said once that alleged confession had been thrown out, the other evidence, including forensic evidence, was not sufficient to go forward.

An elated Maxine Williams, Francis’ aunt who took care of him since he was seven years old, said that she experienced countless sleepless nights knowing what her nephew was going through. “I know through it all God was in control, and I woke up every morning at 3 a.m. to pray for him.”

She could hardly contain her excitement. As soon as the 12-member jury was ordered to return a not guilty verdict, Maxine jumped out her seat to run to her nephew, but was ordered back to her seat by one of the bailiffs.

With his name now cleared, Williams walked away from the High Court hand in hand with his sister Melisha, both of them wearing huge grins.

The other defence lawyer in the matter was Grant Connell. The prosecution team was lead by Trinidadian Gilbert Peterson S.C., Director of Public Prosecution Colin Williams, Carl Williams and Michelle Fyfe.

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