Jury frees man of murder charge
A man who said he acted in self-defence when he was attacked by his neighbour was yesterday freed by a majority verdict of the murder charge.
Robert Lawrence, a 42-year-old painter of Padmore district, near Rock Hall, St Andrew, was freed after the jury retired for two hours and returned a verdict of 11 to one.
The Crown led evidence that Lawrence stabbed Oneil Saint on December 27, 2009 because of a dispute between Saint's girlfriend and the relatives of the accused some days before.
Saint's girlfriend, who was the sole eyewitness, said about 7.30 a.m. on the day of the incident, she saw Lawrence, who was armed with a dagger, chasing Saint along the main road. When he caught up with Saint, he stabbed him in the chest. Lawrence attempted to attack her, but she said she ran into her house.
Lawrence was arrested that same day by the police. On being told about the allegation, he said he was acting in self-defence. He told the police that it was Saint who had attacked him with a knife, and during the struggle for the knife, Saint got injured.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Peter Champagnie, the eyewitness said she did not mention to the police the type of weapon that Lawrence used to stab Saint.
It was pointed out to her that in her statement to the police, she had mentioned that there was another eyewitness to the incident. However, the witness denied in court that she had ever said that to the police.
Jamaicans told to remain vigilant during the holidays
Citizens are urged to be on the lookout for suspicious persons within their communities. This call comes as the police are encouraging citizens to take greater care to protect themselves, their families and their communities, especially against the background that criminals being sought by the police try to elude lawmen by fleeing to other communities.
The police want Jamaicans to:
1. Immediately report all suspicious persons or incidents in the community to the police and cooperate fully in giving lawmen information about such persons. Be keen on description, mode of transportation, time of day, and specific areas such person(s) frequent.
2. Warn children to avoid strangers, especially if they encounter them alone in sparsely populated areas.
3. Maintain communication with the local police. They are there to protect you.
4. Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Con artists may use various methods to distract you with the aim of taking your valuables.
5. As much as is possible, travel in groups. There is much truth in the adage 'there is safety in numbers'.
Police increase presence for holidays
The Jamaica Constabulary Force is assuring the public that there will be an increased presence in personnel across major towns and business districts during the Yuletide season.
The Constabulary Communication Network said that the divisional commanders have taken into consideration businesses that have extended their operating hours and have strengthened their patrol teams in order to provide security and maintain confidence among shoppers and business operators.
In addition, business operators are being urged to utilise police services when transporting large sums of money if the need arises.
While members of the public are being advised to take the necessary steps to ensure their personal safety, the police are determined to thwart any attempts at crime made by unlawful citizens who take advantage of crowded business districts.
Cops seek men to help with triple-murder investigation
The St James police have intensified their investigation into Wednesday's triple murder at Hibiscus Close in Norwood and 12 Williams Street, Montego Bay.
The cops have asked three men, who they believe can assist them in their investigation, to contact them.
Superintendent of Police in Charge of St James Egbert Parkins, in a press briefing on Friday, said the lawmen were hot on the heels of the perpetrators.
Among the men whose assistance the police are seeking in their probe is Rylon Brown, otherwise called Rylon Mighty or Kirki of a Catherine Hall address in Montego Bay. He is of dark complexion and appears to be bleaching and frequents Mount Salem, Norwood, Catherine Mount, St Elizabeth, and Payne Land.
Twenty-year-old Sonjah Holness, otherwise called Crime, of Lot 192, Catherine Hall, Montego Bay, is also being sought by the police. He is of slim build, dark complexion with a plaited hairstyle. He has a tattoo of a cross on his upper arm, and is soft-spoken. He frequents Mount Salem, Catherine Mount, Norwood, and St Elizabeth.
The third man is André Reid, otherwise called Little Zulus of North Gully, Montego Bay. He sports a low-cut hairstyle and is of slim build, fair complexion, with a straight face and pointed mouth; high forehead and protruding ears. He has a tattoo on the right shoulder saying 'SCALE' and 'GOOD OVER EVIL' and on the left arm imprinted 'IN MEMORY OF FATHER ZULUS'.