Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
The prosecution in the highly publicised case emanating from last September's rape of five females in Irwin Point, St James, suffered a major setback yesterday when the results of DNA tests failed to implicate the two brothers charged in connection with the incident.
Kerron and Sheldon Brissett, who were jointly charged with rape, wounding with intent and illegal possession of firearm following the September 24 incident, were offered bail in the Western Regional Gun Court in the aftermath of yesterday's DNA revelation.
"The DNA result is back, and it excludes them (the Brissett brothers)," said attorney-at-law Lambert Johnson, who is representing the men in the in camera case. "I am not surprised at the result ... based on my talks with the young men and their families, who were sure of their innocence."
Johnson added: "They were offered bail in the sum of $250,000 each by Justice Lennox Campbell, and are to return to court on March 4. The bail offer for the gun-related charges ($200,000 each) still stands."
Prosecution still wants trial
The attorney told The Gleaner that the prosecution still intends to continue with the case, which is being closely watched by children's advocates, among other interested parties.
"The prosecution still wants to go to trial, and they were opposed to bail, even after their own lab produced the results, over which we had no control," said Johnson. "It was my clients who actually volunteered to give the blood for the DNA analysis because they were sure of their innocence."
On the night of the incident, the five females, including an eight-year-old girl, were forcefully taken away from their Irwin Point home and taken into a nearby open lot, where they were robbed and raped. The eight-year old was hospitalised on account of her ordeal.
Two days after the incident, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington and the chief of defence staff, Major General Antony Anderson, met with National Security Minister Peter Bunting and a decision was taken to deploy specialist investigators to join the St James police in their investigations.
Following a period of investigation into the incident, which attracted wide-scale condemnation, including a statement of dismay from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, the Brissett brothers were taken into custody and subsequently charged.
Following yesterday's DNA revelation, The Gleaner made contact with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). However, the officers spoken to were unwilling to comment on the matter. Subsequent calls to the telephone of DPP Paula Llewellyn went unanswered.