Tue | Jun 25, 2019

Twice framed? St Andrew labourer David Clarke again freed of gun-related, other charges

Published:Friday | June 14, 2019 | 11:58 AM
St Andrew labourer, David Clarke, (left) and his attorney Able-Don Foote - Contributed photo

Nickoy Wilson, Gleaner Writer

David Clarke, who was awarded $6 million against the government for false arrest and prosecution in 2017, has again been acquitted of an ammunition charge.

Clarke, who was also freed of illegal possession of firearm, wounding with intent, robbery with aggravation, rape and grievous sexual assault charges, was released after witnesses in the case were discredited.

During the trial in the Home Circuit Court this week, the prosecution called three eyewitnesses who testified that a group of gunmen entered their house in the community of Riverton City around midnight on the day in question and robbed them of several personal and household appliances including money, a refrigerator and a television.

It was further alleged that a woman was sexually assaulted by the men who then escaped.

It was also alleged that two of the gunmen subsequently returned to the premises and shot the male occupant.

DISCREDITED

During cross-examination by attorney-at-law Able-Don Foote, who represented Clarke, the witnesses all agreed that they were blindfolded throughout the incident with one of them admitting that he did not see the robbers. 

Another witness agreed that there was nothing special or unique about Clarke’s voice which would assist in identifying him as one of the assailants. 

The witness further agreed that he discussed the case with the other witnesses and that they read each other’s police statements. 

Based on their admissions, Foote submitted that the witnesses have been discredited and contaminated. 

Trial judge Justice Georgina Fraser agreed and freed Clarke.

FALSE STATEMENT

Clarke’s acquittal this week came almost eight years after being arrested in September 2011 in connection with the seizure of an M16 magazine with 20 rounds of ammunition in Riverton City, St Andrew.

He was held in police custody for 34 days before being taken to court.

He was eventually granted bail.

At his trial in the Gun Court in September 2014, Clarke's attorney Bert Samuels argued that there were inconsistencies in the testimony of the police.

He pointed to a statement from a soldier who was on duty with the policemen when the gun was found.

In his statement, the soldier said he found the magazine with the ammunition in bushes.

The court upheld the submissions and freed Clarke.

Clarke successfully sued the Government and was awarded $6 million in damages.

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