Accused killer walks as evidence ruled ‘weak’
The attorney for the man who walked free yesterday in the so-called beheading murder trial has cautioned the public to “separate our emotions from facts”.
Sanja Ducally, one of five men charged with the killing of a St Catherine woman and her teenage daughter was acquitted after High Court judge Vivene Harris found that prosecutors did not provide enough evidence to link him to the crime.
Harris, in her ruling on a no-case submission, explained that there was no evidence, on the case presented by prosecutors, of Ducally’s participation before or after the killings, or that he was involved in planning the attack.
Anthony Williams, who, along with Julie-Ann Bailey, represented Ducally, said that the verdict was not a surprise to him.
“I expected this verdict because, upon a careful and compendious examination of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, it was palpably weak and had no substance,” Williams told The Gleaner.
“Why the prosecution insisted on carrying on this matter, only God he knows.”
Ducally declined an interview when The Gleaner found him seated outside the Supreme Court building in downtown Kingston more than two hours after he had regained his freedom, sharing only that he was relieved to be free.
“It’s a good feeling. It’s a blessing. See all the rain start fall,” said the former assistant teacher at St Catherine Primary School who spent eight years in custody awaiting trial.
Williams said his client “just wanted to enjoy the fact that he can now breathe fresh air and enjoy the sunlight”.
Ducally, Kemar Riley, Adrian Campbell, Fabian Smith, and Roshane Goldson were arrested and charged with two counts of murder arising from the grisly slaying of Charmaine Cover-Rattray, 40, and her 18-year-old daughter, Joeith Lynch, inside their home in Lauriston, St Catherine, on July 20, 2011.
Campbell, Smith and Goldson pleaded guilty to non-capital murder and are scheduled to be sentenced on December 13.
Riley pleaded not guilty and his trial is ongoing in the Home Circuit Court.
Among the evidence so far presented by prosecutors is a video-recorded caution statement Ducally gave police investigators after he was arrested.
In the video, which was recorded just over a month after the killings and played for jurors, Ducally admitted that he was passing the women’s house on the night of July 20, 2011 when he “heard like someone was screaming” and went inside “to look what was going on”.
He told investigators that he was standing next to a man he identified as ‘Rushane’, who was chopping Lynch.
“While he was chopping, he swung the cutlass and it chopped me on my hand,” he recounted.
Williams acknowledged that the killings were “gruesome”, “dastardly”, and “heinous”, but insisted that Ducally should not have been charged.
“That caution statement had nothing to implicate Mr Ducally,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, Riley took the witness stand in his own defence and denied any involvement in the killing.
Riley also denied knowing a witness who said the accused killer admitted, during a jailhouse conversation, that he shot Lynch because “she did a bawl out too loud”.
“I never see that man until last week Thursday in the courthouse,” he testified, triggering an exchange with lead prosecutor Paula Llewellyn.
“Why would this man who you never see before come here to tell lie on you?” Llewellyn questioned.
“People wicked dem way deh,” Riley replied.
The trial continues today.