“Thankful” was the only word uttered by street barber, Alvin Barclay, who was acquitted of a murder charge yesterday. Barclay was set free by Justice Diana Insanally and a mixed twelve -member panel of jurors.
Barclay, a barber from Lot 1778 Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara, was on trial at the Georgetown High Court for allegedly stabbing his former colleague Yohan Hunte, also known as “Man on the Roof,” to death on September 2, 2012 in the vicinity of Stabroek Market.
The men, who operated as barbers on the sidewalk in the Stabroek Market square, ended up in a scuffle during a dispute over electricity. Hunte, who earned his nickname after staging a one-man protest on the roof of the Georgetown Prisons sometime before the fight, was wounded by a sharp instrument in the chest area.
According to the reports, after being attacked Barclay threw a brick and two broken bottles at Hunte thereby causing him injuries. The victim was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), where he immediately underwent surgery. He later succumbed while receiving further treatment at the Intensive Care Unit.
At the summing up yesterday, Justice Insanally noted that six witnesses testified, among them eyewitness George Douglas, Compton Barclay – the father of the accused, Pamela Harding and Government Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh.
Justice Insanally told the jury that if they were to find the accused guilty of the offence they must be convinced that the evidence provided by the Prosecution witnesses had proven beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had intended to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm to the victim.
The Judge said, too, that in considering whether it was a case of self-defence, the jury should consider if the accused had defended himself in the most reasonable manner given the circumstances.
After almost two hours of deliberation, the 12-member panel returned to the courtroom and announced that they had found Barclay not guilty of the offence of murder and manslaughter.
The barber was then told by the Judge that he was free to go.
Outside the courtroom, an evidently elated Barclay hugged and kissed his relatives. With tears in his eyes, he held onto one of the women who expressed gratitude to God for the outcome.
“God is good all de time. I never lose my faith in God. Thank Jesus,” one of the women could be heard saying.
When asked for a comment, the man who had been accused of killing his colleague uttered the word “thankful,” in a shaky and almost inaudible voice.
While leading his defence last Wednesday, Barclay told the court that he did not know how Hunte sustained the injuries that led to his death.
He said that he was cutting a client’s hair when Hunte approached him to use his electricity. He said that he refused and Hunte proceeded to “buss up the drop cord” which led to an argument between them.
At the time of the argument he claimed that Hunte threw a brick at him which he dodged. After that, hostilities were quelled and the victim reportedly left. Barclay said that he went for his cutlass in case Hunte returned, and continued cutting a client’s hair.
The victim did in fact return with, according to Barclay, two glass bottles in hand and two in his back pocket. By this time, he recalled, a crowd had gathered.
Barclay claimed that the crowd began “tugging and pulling” at them. He said that he looked up to see Hunte staggering and falling to the ground. He said that he panicked and ran to the police station to report the incident.
He was represented by Attorney-at-Law George Thomas while Attorneys -at- Law Mercedes Thomas and Dhanika Singh represented the State.
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