After a lengthy trial, Leon Duncan was yesterday acquitted of murder by a mixed twelve-member jury,
who found him not guilty of the offence.
Duncan, also known as ‘Whistle’, was visibly relieved as the jury foreman announced the decision, and hurriedly departed after being freed. Some of his relatives who were present in the courtroom of Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry shed tears of joy before hastily following their relative from the compound.
Duncan, who had been arrested in 2013 for the murder/robbery of businessman Intaz Roopnarine, walked of the Georgetown High Court at around noon and embraced his relatives. He was represented by Attorney Mark Waldron.
Roopnarine, called ‘Bobby’ of 169 Mandela Avenue, was shot and robbed at the Cool Square Hotel in Marigold Street, West Ruimveldt on January 24, 2013.
The businessman was wearing several pieces of expensive jewellery when he was attacked as he was preparing to leave the hotel. His assailant escaped with a gold and diamond chain worth $500,000, a gold band worth $700,000 and other jewellery, all priced at a total of $2,200,000.
Roopnarine collapsed and died near to a septic tank aback of the hotel.
Sometime after the shooting, Duncan was arrested for the murder. During his trial in the High Court, the accused denied having knowledge of the incident. He claimed that he had checked out of Cool Square Hotel on the night before the incident occurred.
Duncan had recalled that he met an ex-girlfriend at the Edge Night Club on Main Street on January 23, 2013. He said that after enjoying a good night at the club, he and his ex-girlfriend decided to spend some time at a hotel. Duncan told the court that they left the club in a taxi, which dropped them off at Cool Square Hotel in West Ruimveldt.
The accused said that after spending some time with his ex-girlfriend at the hotel, they decided to go their separate ways; his girlfriend left in a taxi with a female friend and he left the location on foot, minutes later. He said he did not ride in the cab with his ex-girlfriend because he was going to the home of the woman he was living with at the time.
Duncan, who resided at Williamstad Road, Festival City, North Ruimveldt, said that he travelled to Cayenne, French Guiana, a few weeks later. He said that it was upon his return to Guyana, in April that year, that he was arrested by police for the robbery/murder, which he insisted he knew nothing about.
Earlier in the trial, police witnesses Suraj Singh and Rodwell Sarabo told the court that the ex-girlfriend of the accused had been with Duncan for some time on the night before the businessman was shot and killed.
According to the witnesses, the ex-girlfriend later learnt that someone was shot and killed at Cool Square Hotel. The policemen also told the court that Duncan’s ex-girlfriend had recalled that he contacted her and told her that he wanted to turn himself in to the police because his name was being called in a murder.
The Court later learnt that two witnesses, including Duncan’s ex-girlfriend, could not be located. Their depositions were however read into evidence following an application by State Prosecutor Stacy Goodings. Goodings presented the case in association with Prosecutors Orinthia Schmidt and Tuanna Hardy.
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