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May 9, 2014
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Five Newlands men freed of shooting charges

Five men from Newlands, St Catherine, were freed of charges of shooting with intent and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition following no-case submissions by defence lawyers that the identification evidence was poor and the case was not properly investigated.

The men are Roland Josephs, Lichichaya Grandison, Kashief Grandison, Thorbin Walker and Ricardo Evans.

A witness testified in the Gun Court that on June 9, 2012, the men fired shots at him. He said he and his friends were gambling on Tana Lane in Newlands when he saw the accused men, whom he had known before. They were about 66 feet away. He spoke to his friends and they ran but he hid for a short time. He said it was about midnight. When he began to run shots were fired at him.

He admitted under cross-examination that he had only seen the men for about three to four seconds.

no case submissions

Attorneys-at-law Alando Terrelonge, Courtney Maxwell, Andrew Irving, Philmore Scott and Christian Tavares Finson, who represented the men, in making no-case submissions, suggested the charges were "cooked up" by the police and the witness to get the men out of the community.

The lawyers said no independent investigation was done in the matter. It was brought out under cross-examination that since the incident, the witness has been working for one of the investigators in the case.

Justice Jennifer Straw upheld the no-case submission and freed the men on Wednesday. The judge said no reason was given why the complainant did not report the shooting until days later. She said she had to consider the complainant's ability to identify them on the night in question. She expressed concern that there was no evidence from anyone else that shots were fired.

The judge said the final nail in the coffin was when the complainant began working at a security firm owned by one of the investigators in the case. She said he may not be employed for any wrong reason but she had to consider that along with all the other factors.

Josephs, who was represented by Terrelonge, was on bail while the other men had been in custody since 2012.

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