…following no case submission
Murder accused Stephen Campbell, of Lot 5 Number Seven, Bramsfield Village, East Coast Berbice, on Wednesday walked out of the Berbice High Court a free man after Justice William Ramlal upheld the defence no case submission.
Campbell was on trial before Justice Ramlal and a mixed jury for murdering taxi driver Trevor Kissoon, between June 9 and June 10, 2010, before dumping his body.
The battered body of Kissoon, 27, of 24 Alexander Street, New Amsterdam, was found in a trench at Bramsfield Number Seven, East Coast Berbice, around noon on June 10, 2010.
Kissoon, who was employed with the J&N Taxi Service in New Amsterdam, was driving a silver-grey 212 Toyota car, HB 7489. At the time of his disappearance, he was working the 19:00hrs to 07:00 hrs shift.
The state’s case presented by Prosecutor Attorney-at-Law Stacy Goodings saw a switch in prosecutors half way with Attorney Orinthia Schmidt concluding the matter.
The accused was represented by Attorneys at law Mursalene Bacchus and Perry Goosai.
When the matter continued on Wednesday Attorney at law, Mursalene Bacchus, made a no case submission during which he discredited the prosecution’s case, especially the evidence of star witness Ambika Hunt who had a relationship with the accused Campbell.
After listening to the rebuttal done by Schmidt, Justice Ramlal made his ruling.
The judge stated that the only evidence that seems to connect Campbell to the death of Kissoon is the evidence of Ambika Hunt. She said that the accused told her at her home that he and his friends killed a taxi driver.
No direct evidence was led by the prosecution to establish who the taxi driver was, who were the friends of the accused or where the taxi driver was killed.
He said that Ambika Hunt admitted under cross examination that she got the date, June 9, 2010 from the police as the date her cell phone was used to call a taxi service. She admitted further that she was forced to tell the police what they wanted to hear after being in custody for long a time. In that, what the police asked her on the first day, she was prepared to say on the second day.
Apart from Hunt’s evidence there was no circumstantial or direct evidence to establish that by a taxi driver she meant Trevor Kissoon who was in fact a driver with J and N taxi service.
There was no evidence led by the prosecution that whoever used Hunt’s cell phone to call J and N taxi service is in fact the accused. The possession of the cell phone by Campbell cannot by inference lead to him being involved and to whom called the taxi service where the deceased worked.
There is no evidence led by the prosecution to establish that the accused conspired with or acted in concert with others to kill anyone. The indirect evidence does not allege that he did. The judge stated that the evidence of Hunt and Reid is that the accused allegedly acted with others.
The indictment is that he acted alone. There is no evidence of the actor’s intent to commit a crime in the killing of Kissoon.
The Judge noted that Hunt’s evidence was weak, tenuous, and repugnant to commonsense. The evidence is unsatisfactory and unsound. A reasonable jury properly directed cannot arrive at a verdict adverse to the accused.
The jury was then directed to return a formal verdict of not guilty of murder.
Before letting the accused go, Justice Ramlal told him that he has escaped from the law of mankind. You and your God as well as others know what happened.
Campbell had nothing to say to the court when asked.
The state’s case was that on the night in question the taxi service received a call from a cell phone asking for a car to do a pick up at the Sheet Anchor Turn in East Canje. Kissoon subsequently reported that he had located the customer and was heading to Rose Hall Town, where he was to make another pick up and then drop the passenger off at a popular hotel in New Amsterdam, before returning with the other person to Skeldon.
The man was not heard from again during the night. A missing person’s report was subsequently made.
His relatives mounted a search and the next day Kissoon’s battered body was found next to a bridge at the side of a trench at Bramsfield. When the body was found his head was bashed in and his eyes were gouged out. The police conducted an investigation that led to the arrest of Campbell, some two years after the incident. The car was never found.
Giving evidence during the trial were Detective Assistant Superintendent Trevor Reid, Detective Sergeant Lawrence Thomas who witnessed the post mortem examination which was conducted by Dr. Vivekanand Brijmohan Detective Corporal Michael Peters, civilians Trimatie Wong, Stefan Jagdeo, Jennifer Burrowes and Gregory Ramsammy.
Justice Ramlal had earlier decided against the admissibility of the caution statement reportedly made by the accused.
The preliminary inquiry was conducted by Magistrate Adela Nagamootoo.
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