Kerwin Charles aka Buck, the man who was charged for the 2010 fatal shooting of Benjamin Dalson, aka Benjie, ran out of the High Court a free man today, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
Charles, who has been on remand at Bordelais Correctional Facility since 2010, ran out of the courtroom in celebration, moments after learning that his case was dismissed because it does not qualify to go to trial.
The jubilant defendant ran while Justice Francis Cumberbatch was giving him some final words.
According to Justice Cumberbatch, the prosecution’s main witness claimed to have heard eight or nine loud bangs. After he heard the bangs, the victim stumbled toward him, bleeding from the stomach. The victim reportedly said to the witness “that man shot me”.
Justice Cumberbatch ruled that while the witness may have heard the gunshots and saw the victim, at no time did the victim identify Charles as the shooter. He said while the defendant was in the vicinity of the incident, there was no evidence of a gun seen by the witness.
The judge ruled that the evidence presented by the Crown was insufficient and circumstantial, and as such there was no evidence of complicity or enough evidence for trial.
Charles was accused of shooting Dalson during an altercation at about 7:55 pm on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at Georgeville, Castries where both men reside.
Dalson, a 26-year-old father of two children, was pronounced dead at Victoria Hospital. A post mortem performed revealed that he died from haemorrhagic shock, secondary to multiple gunshot wounds to the lower back.
Following his death, Member of Parliament for the area, Richard Frederick, speaking to the STAR newspaper from Germany, said it was no secret that Dalson had run-ins with the law, but the deceased was trying to change his ways.
“It’s no secret that Benjie had his run-ins with the law. But he was one of those guys who had made a desperate effort to transform his life. When I initiated the Peace and Love campaign in Castries Central, Benjie was fully on board,” Frederick was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
He added: “Anytime anyone would interfere with him, Benjie would call me and ask me to speak to that person. He did it on three occasions. In fact, just about three weeks ago I financed him to renew his visa. He was unsuccessful. He had been trying desperately to stay out of trouble and he told me he just wanted to get out of St Lucia.”
Frederick, who was housing minister at the time of the shooting, told the STAR that Dalson was in Georgeville to settle a brewing dispute.
“Something went wrong and it is a sad day when someone who was trying so hard to get his life on the right track has his light put out prematurely and in such a manner,” Frederick said.
About 24 hours after the shooting, it was alleged that the house of Charles’s mother was burnt to the ground in retaliation for Dalson’s death.
A warrant for Charles’ arrest was issued on April 30, 2010, but he was not apprehended until Thursday, June 10, 2010 at about 10:30 pm during an operation conducted by a combined unit of police officers at Rodney Bay, quarter of Gros-Islet, where several boats were searched.
However, evidence presented by the Crown shows that there is not enough evidence to put Charles on trial for Dalson’s murder.