Three Ja cops freed

Three of the six Jamaican policemen charged with murder of four civilians at Kraal, Clarendon, on May 7, 2003, were freed yesterday after Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe ruled there was no case in law against them.

Freed were Constables Devon Bernard, Leford Gordon and Roderick Collier. They had been charged jointly with Senior Superintendent Reneto Adams, former head of the disbanded Crime Management Unit, and corporals Patrick Coke and Shane Lyons, who are still before the court, reports the Jamaica Gleaner.

Monday afternoon when the jury returned to court, the Chief Justice directed them to return a formal verdict of not guilty in respect to the three policemen.

The Chief Justice told the 12-member jury that submissions were made to him and “I find the Crown failed to satisfy me that there is a case to be left for your consideration in respect of Devon Bernard, Roderick Collier and Leford Gordon”.

The Chief Justice also told the jury that for the Crown to establish the guilt of the men, it must satisfy the judge of law that there was a case to be left to “you judges of facts for your consideration.”

After the men left the dock, they remained in court until the adjournment.

The trial continued yesterday with Adams and Coke, in unsworn statements from the dock, telling the jury that gunmen fired at the police party when they went to Kraal, Clarendon, and the police returned the fire. They also called character witnesses.

The trial began on October 31 in the Home Circuit Court. When the Crown closed its case last week Thursday after calling 44 witnesses, submissions in law were made in the absence of the jury.

The civilians, 47-year-old Angella Richards, 39-year-old Lowena Thompson and Kirk Gordon and Matthew James, both 29, were fatally shot at Kraal on May 7, 2003. The Crown is alleging that the policemen were not acting in lawful self-defence when they were shot.

The trial continues today, when Corporal Shane Lyons will present his defence.

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