Murder accused walks free
Twenty-eight year-old Bernstein James yesterday walked out of the Mahaica Magistrate’s Court a free man, freed of the charge of murder. He had been accused of killing his brother Floyd James, on January 1, 2009.
The preliminary inquiry (PI) was before Magistrate Haymant Ramdhani, and Bernstein was represented by defence counsel Jerome Khan.
Kaieteur News understands that the PI lasted over 15 months and some 13 witnesses were called to give evidence.
According to attorney at law Jerome Khan the entire case was based on “hearsay” evidence, all of which was discredited during the PI.
It was explained that the charge stemmed from an allegation that the two brothers were involved in a fight, which led to the death of Floyd James.
A post mortem examination gave his cause of death as asphyxiation due to drowning.
Even though this was determined, the police nevertheless instituted charges because of a caution statement which was taken from the accused.
During the preliminary inquiry, the admissibility of the same caution statement came up, and it was ruled that it was not taken voluntarily.
Yesterday the magistrate in his decision noted that the prosecution had failed to successfully present a single piece of evidence to substantiate any claim of murder.