Shooting defendant found not guilty after witnesses refuse to cooperate

Witnesses refuse to cooperate

A man charged in connection with a March 28 shooting in McField Square in George Town was released from custody Monday after witnesses would not cooperate with the prosecution. 

Randy James Parchment, 34, was released after the Crown offered no evidence on charges related to the shooting, with Crown counsel Nicole Petit telling Justice Charles Quin that witnesses had not cooperated. 

Parchment was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and the unlawful and malicious wounding of a named female. Appearing in Summary Court days later, he elected to be tried in Grand Court where he pleaded not guilty. He had been remanded in custody since. 

Ms. Petit said the case against Parchment had depended on the identification evidence of two witnesses, who had since refused to cooperate with the Crown. 

“So it leaves us in a position … where to proceed would be to waste judicial time with a prosecution. These are circumstances entirely beyond out control,” she pointed out. “We have made repeated efforts to obtain their cooperation, but without success.” 

Justice Quin observed that the situation was frustrating. 

“It is frustrating,” Ms. Petit agreed. “The parties are all known to each other. And, as I said, these are circumstances beyond our control at this stage. So we offer no evidence.” 

The judge made a note of the Crown’s efforts to bring the witnesses to court to give evidence. “It appears you’ve done as much as you possibly can. In light of the circumstances, the defendant is formally found not guilty.” 

Addressing the defendant directly, he said, “Mr. Parchment, the court finds you not guilty. The Crown is offering no evidence, so you’re free to go.” 

Defense attorney Nicholas Dixey said he had nothing to add. 

Press statements from police after the shooting incident said two masked men approached and fired shots into a crowd of people. Three women were wounded: one in the chest and abdomen; one in the arm; the third woman’s injury was not specified, but she was released from hospital the same day. 

Three men were arrested. Parchment was brought to court and two others were released on police bail while investigations continued. 

The trial was to have started last Wednesday, with Parchment choosing to be tried by judge alone.