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Trinidad: Six men freed of Cepep worker’s murder


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Former murder accused Chicki Portillo left hugs his mother Lisa Portillo, after he and four others were freed by Chief Magistrate Maria Busby- Earle- Caddle at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court.

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Six men from Diego Mar­tin, whose pro­tract­ed pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry for mur­der­ing a Cepep work­er had to be restart­ed due to the short-lived ju­di­cial ap­point­ment of for­mer chief mag­is­trate Mar­cia Ay­ers-Cae­sar, have been freed.

Ak­ili Charles, Chic­ki Portel­lo, An­ton Cam­bridge, Ka­reem Gomez, Levi Joseph and Is­rael “Arnold” Lara were dis­charged by Ay­ers-Cae­sar’s suc­ces­sor Chief Mag­is­trate Maria Bus­by-Ear­le-Cad­dle at the end of their sec­ond pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry in the Port-of-Spain Mag­is­trates’ Court, this morn­ing.

The le­gal vic­to­ry was bit­ter­sweet for Cam­bridge as he had to watch as his friends walked out of the cour­t­house and in­to the arms of their elat­ed rel­a­tives, while he was re­mand­ed back in­to cus­tody for a sep­a­rate mur­der.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Bus­by-Ear­le-Cad­dle up­held a no case sub­mis­sion from the group’s at­tor­neys, who claimed that there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence link­ing them to mur­der­ing Rus­sell An­toine on May 13, 2010.

An­toine, 27, was walk­ing along Up­per Ceme­tery Street, Covi­gne Road, Diego Mar­tin, when he was shot sev­er­al times. An­toine’s friends Mar­cus and Joseph Spring were wound­ed in the in­ci­dent and the group was charged with shoot­ing them with in­tent to cause them griev­ous bod­i­ly harm. The group was al­so freed of the ad­di­tion­al charges.

The group’s case was one of 53 that were af­fect­ed when Ay­ers-Cae­sar de­cid­ed to take up a po­si­tion as a High Court Judge in April 2017.

Two weeks lat­er, Ay­ers-Cae­sar ten­dered her res­ig­na­tion amid furore over the cas­es she left un­fin­ished.

Most of the af­fect­ed per­sons agreed to have their cas­es restart­ed be­fore Bus­by-Ear­le-Cad­dle, who cleared her sched­ule to ex­pe­dite them.

How­ev­er, the group elect­ed to put their case on hold pend­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion of a High Court in­ter­pre­ta­tion law­suit, which sought to de­ter­mine the process to be fol­lowed when a ju­di­cial of­fi­cial leaves of­fice sud­den­ly, as in Ay­ers-Cae­sar’s case.

In Jan­u­ary, Jus­tice Car­ol Gob­in ruled that all of Ay­ers-Cae­sar’s part-heard cas­es would have to be restart­ed. The group’s sec­ond pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry even­tu­al­ly com­menced be­fore Bus­by-Ear­le-Cad­dle in March.

Speak­ing with Guardian Me­dia af­ter the hear­ing, some of the men’s rel­a­tives, who at­tend­ed al­most every hear­ing of their case over the past decade, ex­pressed re­lief over the out­come.

“This should not take 10 years but noth­ing hap­pens be­fore its time,” one rel­a­tive said.

The group was rep­re­sent­ed by Wayne Sturge, Criston J Williams and Danielle Ram­per­sad.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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