Wed | Aug 23, 2017

UPDATED: St Mary man freed of murder

Published:Friday | January 22, 2016 | 1:45 PM

A discrepancy in the Crown's case as to whether the sole eyewitness could have seen the shooting from the position in which she was seated has led to the acquittal of 32-year-old labourer Jeptha Blair of Springfield, St Mary.

Blair went on trial in the Home Circuit on Wednesday for the murder of Dwight Senior of Springfield.

The Crown represented by Sahai Whittingham Maxwell, crown Counsel, led evidence that on November 11, 2012, Blair shot and killed  Senior.

A relative of the deceased testified that she was sitting on the verandah when Blair came up and shot Senior.

She said she was able to see the incident clearly.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Peter Champagnie, the witness admitted that her eyesight was not very good and she had surgery on her eyes some years  ago.

The witness admitted that at the preliminary she had said that she was sitting on her verandah.

Cross-examined further she said she was sitting on the other verandah.

Champagnie and the prosecutor visited the area where the incident took place.

During cross-examination, a policeman said there were two houses in the yard and the verandahs were close by. 

He agreed with the suggestion that the witness could not have seen the shooting from her verandah.

After the Crown closed its case, Blair was about to give an unsworn statement when Justice Crescencia Brown Beckford, sent out the jury and asked the prosecutor to address her in respect to the discrepancy in relation to the verandahs.

The prosecutor agreed that there was a discrepancy but it was an issue of credibility which should be left for the jury's decision.

She cited authorities to support her submission.

In response, Champagnie said there was a serious discrepancy that went to the root of the Crown's case and should not be left to the jury.

The judge then directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.   

*NOTE: Earlier, this story had said it was Champaignie who initiated the no-case submission. That was incorrect. It was in fact the judge who did so.