NINE men who were among a group of 12, given the name “Dirty Dozen” by police, were freed yesterday of a 2010 murder.
There was an emotional scene at the Hall of Justice after the ruling upholding the no-case submissions advanced by attorneys for the men.
They were before Justice Devan Rampersad charged with chopping to death 24-year-old Ameil George. After the judge’s ruling, jurors were instructed to return not-guilty verdicts in favour of the men.
In his ruling, Rampersad held there was insufficient evidence.
Those freed were: Reinaldo Marcano, 36, Raymond Birot, 45, Jirt Serrette, 32, Keston Morris, 27, Gerard Hepburn 24, Devon Samuel, 24, Terrence “Trix” David, Keon “Taliban” Lawrence and Joel “Snake” Roberts, 25.
They are from Cunupia, San Juan and Production Avenue, Sea Lots, Port of Spain.
Three other men who also charged with the crime had their no-case submissions dismissed by Rampersad. When the case resumes, they will have to mount their defence.
The 12 were accused of murdering George, of Building One, Harding Place, Cocorite, on January 18, 2010. He was attacked near his home by a group of men during a robbery and was chopped multiple times.
Senior Counsel Israel Khan, one of the defence attorneys, questioned the long period before an accused goes to trial.
“People are waiting eight, nine ten years and with all these amendments they are passing in Parliament it is not helping the situation. Eight years is too long,” said Khan.
He added that even after the long time for cases to go to trial, people found not guilty have no civil recourse.
Also appearing on behalf of the accused were attorneys Richard Clarke-Wills, Joseph George, Joseph Sookoo, Hasine Sheik, Alina Alexis, Danielle Rampersad and Melissa Mano.
Senior prosecutor Tricia Hudlin-Cooper led the case for the State.