A man who was charged with a 2007 murder which took place after a bazaar at a primary school has been freed by a High Court judge who agreed there was insufficient evidence to convict him.
On Tuesday, Jameel De Leon was freed after Justice Geoffrey Henderson upheld a no-case submission advanced by his attorneys Ramesh Deena and public defender Avionne Bruno Mason.
De Leon was charged with the October 8, 2007, murder of Christopher Lovelace who was stabbed during a fight after a bazaar at the St Therese RC School, Rio Claro.
The incident took place in the wee hours of the morning when it was alleged, Lovelace was on his way home when he was accosted by a group of men who stabbed him once in the back.
De Leon’s judge-only trial began on December 3, and the State advanced evidence from 16 witnesses; ten of which were formal admissions in the form of statements and depositions.
It was the prosecution’s case that De Leon was the person who stabbed Lovelace since he was seen with the knife after the fight and the victim’s blood was found on his jersey.
However, it was the contention of the defence attorneys, in their no-case submission, that no witness identified De Leon as the attacker and drew the judge’s attention to his statement to the police where he said he was not part of the fight but was attempting to diffuse it.
He also said he received the knife from someone else and quickly passed it on to another person.
In his ruling, Henderson agreed with the submissions of the defence, holding there was not sufficient evidence to convict De Leon.
At the time of his killing, Lovelace’s father told the media he never expected to lose his son in such a violent way. He said then, his son, just asking a girl for a dance, led to his death. He also claimed his son was beaten up in the bazaar before he was “finished” as he made his way home after the event.