There’s shock and outrage in the country following news that a businessman, Patrick Powell, has been freed of murder in the Kingston Home Circuit Court.
The verdict is sending ripples through the society. It’s sparked furious discussions about how dysfunctional is the country’s justice system.
The accused Powell was found not guilty this morning of killing Kingston College teenager, Khajeel Mais, when prosecutors offered no further evidence against him in the so called X-6 murder trial.
The case against Powell collapsed last Friday.
This after the prosecution’s main witness, taxi driver – Wayne Wright – contradicted a statement he gave the police saying Powell was the man who shot Khajeel in July 2011.
This morning lead Prosecutor, Jeremy Taylor, told the court that, in the circumstances with no credible eye witness, the crown had no option but to close its case.
Mr. Taylor explained that there were 16 of 28 witnesses left to be called to give testimony.
But he noted that none of the remaining witnesses would have been able to address the issue of whether Patrick Powell was on the scene of the crime or whether it was in fact Powell who had fired the fatal bullet which claimed the life of Khajeel Mais.
Mr. Taylor noted that even if the crown had put all the evidence forward, it would still have had to be anchored by Wright’s evidence.”
Mais’s family stared in bewilderment as it quickly became clear that Powell would be set free.
A tense calm enveloped the court room as Justice Lloyd Hibbert, indicated that in the circumstances he had no choice but to direct the 7 member jury to return a formal not guilty verdict against Powell.
The Upper St. Andrew Businessman was subsequently acquitted of both charges – murder and shooting with intent.
But exactly how did the prosecution’s case collapse?
The Director of Public Prosecutions is Paula Llewellyn revealed that the only alleged eyewitness to the crime, the taxi driver, Wayne Wright, on several occasions refused to speak with the prosecution in the lead up to him entering the witness box.
Powell told media personnel shortly after he left the court room – “I feel good and God is with me.”
While inside, Khajeel’s mom, Allana Mais, was being consoled by a number of supporters – seemingly still in shock at the turn of events.
Mrs. Mais was supported by her husband and father of Khajeel, Errol Mais.