In the country's first judge-alone trial, a murder case, the accused, Kwasi Forde, 38, of San Fernando, was found not guilty this morning.
Justice Gillian Lucky, presiding in the San Fernando High Court, delivered a 45-minute written judgment in which she rejected evidence from an eyewitness, a customer at the Covergirl Restaurant & Bar, on the night of October 10, 2005, when another patron, Gerard Bocas, was shot dead.
It was a robbery in which Forde and three other men allegedly stormed the bar and robbed the customers, leaving some injured.
Forde, having been in prison for the past 14 years awaiting trial, elected to be tried by Lucky, instead of a jury of 12.
Senior state attorney Trevor Jones relied on one eyewitness, who pointed out Forde in a police identification parade.
Forde's statement when he was arrested by former onspector Richard Thomas, that it was not he who killed the man, was an inference that he participated in the robbery, but did not pull the trigger. Lucky rejected the validity of the utterance on the basis that Thomas made no record of it, either in the station diary, or in his pocket book.
Lucky said that the pointing out of Forde in the ID parade was also flawed.
She told Forde, who the State admitted was not the shooter, that her verdict was not guilty and he was free to leave.