Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Another case against 'Rooksie' dismissed

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2016 | 7:01 AMLivern Barrett

Uriel 'Rooksie' James, the alleged gangster who was arrested by the police for three murders, yesterday saw the second charge against him dismissed.

Unlike the first charge which was thrown out by a jury, the nation's chief prosecutor, Paula Llewellyn, turned up in the Home Circuit Court and asked a judge to dismiss the five-year-old case against the man police investigators claim is the leader of the Rose Town, St Andrew-based 'Discipline Gang'.

However, her office retains the right to reinstate the case against James and his co-accused, Roshane Bygrave, if the main witness is located.

Llewellyn also acknowledged that prosecutors are facing major challenges prosecuting the third case against James - a killing that occurred 12 years ago.

LOCATING WITNESSES

She revealed that the main witness in that case, Andrew Reid, also known as 'Junior James', was shot and killed, and that police investigators are unable to locate two civilian witnesses who are needed to have his statement included in the trial.

Reid's death is not connected to the case, James' lead attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, underscored.

Still, Llewellyn, the director of public prosecutions, asked presiding judge Justice Courtney Daye for one more chance to have the case presented to a jury.

"It's in the public's interest that the Crown be given another opportunity to put its house in order," she said.

The case is set to be mentioned on September 30.

In explaining her decision to enter a conditional nolle prosequi against 'Rooksie', Llewellyn revealed that the main witness in the case, Nicky Murray, cannot be located.

ISSUES OF CREDIBILITY

In addition, Llewellyn said research conducted by her office revealed that Murray has a criminal history "which we are aware would create very live issues of credibility".

"The last information we have on Mr Murray is that he was charged with arson and was out on bail and that he absconded bail in 2015," she told the court.

Samuels-Brown revealed that Murray's criminal history also included charges for shooting with intent, illegal possession of firearm, and burglary. She commended Llewellyn's decision to dismiss the murder charge against her client and questioned why it was not dismissed outright.

Last July, a 12-member jury acquitted James of murder arising from the death of security guard Errol McGeachy in 1999.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com