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Witness no-show frees man of murder charge

Published:Thursday | April 26, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

A JAMAICAN man who spent 13 years in prison was freed on Tuesday without facing a third trial for the same murder charge because the witnesses could not be found.

Shabbadine Peart, 30, was freed after the director of public prosecutions (DPP) entered a nolle prosequi (no prosecution). The court was told that the DPP was not proceeding with the case because of the unavailability of the witnesses.

"He has served a sentence," his lawyer Dianne Jobson told The Gleaner. Jobson was referring to the length of time Peart spent in custody since he was arrested and charged in 1999 when he was 18 years old.

He was granted bail last year in the Home Circuit Court after numerous appearances and the witnesses failed to turn up.

He was charged with the murder of Delroy Parchment, a security guard who was employed to DYC Fishing at Brentford Road, Kingston. Parchment was shot dead on the night of May 14, 1999, on Curphey Road near to his workplace. Parchment's firearm was stolen.

On July 10, 2000, a Home Circuit Court jury convicted Peart of the murder and he was sentenced to hang. The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal on December 19, 2003.

Death sentence set aside

Peart's death sentence was set aside in 2004, based on the Privy Council's landmark ruling in the Jamaican case of Lambert Watson that the mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional.

Peart appealed to the United Kingdom Privy Council against his murder conviction and his appeal was allowed in 2006, because of a breach of the Judges' Rules when he was arrested and charged. The Privy Council remitted Peart's case to the Court of Appeal for it to determine whether Peart should face a retrial.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Peart should face another trial. He faced a second trial in February 2010, but the jury failed to arrive at a unanimous verdict and a retrial was ordered.