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May 12, 2014
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Man accused of stabbing police freed
Rasbert Turner, Star Writer

A St Catherine man accused of stabbing a policeman to death four years ago, was freed in the St Catherine Circuit Court Thursday after the trial judge, Justice Marvia McDonald-Bishop, instructed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.

Dead is Stijan Wood, 31-year-old constable of the Mobile Reserve and Waterloo, St Catherine. The man freed of murder is Desmond Barriffe, 31, a labourer also of Waterloo.

After taking the evidence of the deceased man's father, who identified the body, and realising that the Crown had no further evidence to established a murder case, the jury of five men and six women retired for a short while and returned with the verdict.

Justice McDonald-Bishop then told Barriffe he was free to go.

During the trial, Wood's mother, cross-examined by attorney-at-law Peter Champanie, said there was an argument between the two men. She said she intervened and the men went outside; she later heard her son cry out. She saw him on his back and Barriffe on top of him and realised that he was injured. The witness said she did not see the actual physical encounter and gave a statement to the police to this effect.

The Crown led evidence that on November 26, 2010, Wood was stabbed and killed by Barriffe while the two argued over money. An investigation was launched by Inspector Derrick Ball, which resulted in Barriffe being charged.

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