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Woman, accomplice freed of murder of German husband

Published:Tuesday | March 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Jamaican woman who along with a St Catherine man were charged for killing her husband, German hotelier Helmut Steiner, today walked free as the high-profile case collapsed.

Charmaine Steiner, 44, and 48-year-old labourer, Owen Clarke, were acquitted in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston after the seven-member jury was directed by High Court judge Sarah Thompson James to return a formal verdict of not guilty.

Charmaine Steiner and Clarke, who spent eight years in custody, showed no emotion as the verdict was handed down.

The verdict came almost 10 years after Helmut Steiner's body was found with multiple stab wounds along the roadway near the Jamaica Heights Hotel he operated in Portland.

The directive by Justice Thompson James to the jury came after prosecutors indicated, in court, that it could not resist the no-case submissions made by the attorneys for the two accused, Pierre Rogers and Carl McDonald.

Lead prosecutor Kathy-Ann Pyke acknowledged that there was a major inconsistency in the handling of a bandage taken from Clarke.

Pyke pointed to the evidence of District Constable Maurice Ledgister that he took Clarke to the Oracabessa Health Centre for treatment where a used bandage was taken from him and placed in a package.

But the technician from the government forensic lab testified that the package she received was labelled as coming from the Port Maria Hospital and that the contents were different from what Ledgister indicated that he submitted.

"That inconsistency undermines the integrity of the item," Pyke said this morning before the not guilty verdict.

During their no-case submission yesterday, defence attorneys had argued that the partial DNA evidence on which prosecutors were seeking to rely had fizzled.

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