THREE men from Chaguanas who were accused of murdering a fellow resident back in 2015 have been freed of the crime.
It took just over five years after they were charged for the trio of David Junior “Abdul Malik” Nesbitt, Adrian “Cudjoe” Clarke and Malcolm Quintin to be discharged by Senior Magistrate Rajendra Narine after he upheld no-case submissions presented by their attorneys.
Yesterday afternoon, the three were set free after the magistrate found there was insufficient evidence to have them stand trial at the High Court.
The men were accused of shooting to death Amos Dick, at the corner of Mano Street and Postman Drive in Enterprise, Chaguanas, on October 17, 2015.
At the time, Quintin was just 17 years old.
It was just last month that Magistrate Rambachan rejected an application by attorneys from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to rely on the witness statement of its main witness, Crystal Lewis, who implicated all three men before migrating to the United States.
While this is allowed under Section 15 of the Evidence Act, if a witness cannot be located after the State had taken all reasonable steps, in this instance it was not allowed since the magistrate said he had a number of issues with the statement.
First off, he said, in assessing the application, he took note of the fact that the justice of the peace who certified Lewis’ main statement admitted the woman did not provide him with any identification document to prove she was who she said she was.
In addition to that, the justice of the peace also testified that the signature placed on the statement by the woman differed from the signatures on other documents attributed to Lewis.
“I was genuinely left with suspicion that it may not be Crystal Lewis. It could have been anyone,” stated the magistrate.
While the DDP’s Office did not appeal the decision to not allow the statement into evidence, it attempted to reapply under a different segment of the legislation.
During the hearing yesterday, Magistrate Rambachan pointed out the DPP’s Office had first applied under the provision before withdrawing it and bringing another application, which was eventually dismissed by him, last month.
The matter was stood down for a brief period to allow State attorney Raydon Dalyrmple-Watts to consult with DPP Roger Gaspard SC on the way forward with the matter.
When it was recalled, the attorney informed the court that the State had decided to close its case against the men without Lewis’ evidence.
Attorneys Jagdeo Singh, Criston J Williams and Jaggasar, who appeared on behalf of the men, then proceeded to present no-case submissions, which were eventually upheld by the magistrate.