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Former murder accused regains his freedom

Former murder accused regains his freedom


Vermont resident Bridon Joseph was given an early Christmas present earlier this week when he was freed of a murder charge which was brought against him two years ago.

“I feel really glad to get back my freedom again. Whole 29 months of my life wasted for something I know nothing about. I’m so glad and happy {{more}}for this day,” Joseph said while breathing a huge sigh of relief, shortly after being told on Tuesday that he was free to leave the court.

Joseph, 32, an icebox vendor, was charged with the murder of his uncle, Collie Joseph, 47, a farmer of Vermont.

He was also freed of the charges of using a firearm to aid in the commission of an offence and the unlawful use of a firearm.

Collie succumbed to multiple gun shots wounds at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital after being shot outside his home, around 8:00 p.m on June 15, 2012.

Joseph said he can now focus on seeking employment and being someone in life.

“I always know I woulda beat this case. I had hope and confidence all the time. I just want to thank my lawyers, Jomo Thomas and Shirlan Barnwell,” he added.

High Court judge, Her Ladyship, Kathy-Ann Waterman-Latchoo said the substance of the crown’s case hinged on an utterance made by the deceased, which she said is sometimes referred to as a dying declaration.

The utterance made by the deceased just before his last breath was: “Kong (referring to Bridon) and dem shoot me!”

In the law of evidence, Waterman-Latchoo explained that type of evidence can be used in a case.

“However, after hearing certain legal submissions and reviewing the law, the crown has come to a decision that they can no longer proceed on the basis of the evidence of this case,” the judge said.

The judge then directed the 12-member jury to return formal verdicts of not guilty on each count.

Just before the substantive matter could be heard, in the absence of the jury, Jomo Thomas, Joseph’s lawyer, made legal submissions supported by cases on the issues of dying declarations and identification.

Thomas argued that the prosecution’s case was too tenuous and pointed to similar cases where judges took the decision to disallow the matter from going to the jury.

Mention was also made of the fact that because the incident took place between 8 and 9 p.m., the area was dark and it would have been difficult for the deceased to see who shot him.

Thomas strongly argued that his client did not have a motive to kill his uncle, even though both of them were involved in an altercation a month before the fatal incident.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the deceased had chopped up Bridon’s icebox after he accused him (Bridon) of chopping him with a bottle.

“Our client didn’t take anything into his own hands then. He simply went to the police and brought a case against him (deceased) for damage to property,” Thomas said.

At the end of the hearing on Monday, the judge had asked the defence to provide further legal arguments on the points, and on Tuesday, they submitted a case, to which the prosecution replied.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Colin John also conceded that the dying declaration would not be sufficient a premise for a case for murder against Joseph.

Crown counsel, Karim Nelson also appeared with John in the case. (KW)