Jury returns speedy “not guilty” verdict

Mandela Avenue shooting

Murder accused Lloyd Britton who allegedly killed 24-year-old Elvis Fernandes during an argument at Mandela Avenue, West Ruimveldt, Georgetown, two years ago became a free man late Thursday afternoon after a 12-member jury returned a verdict of not guilty after less than 30 minutes of deliberation. As he was being unshackled at the Demerara High Court, he thanked his lawyer, defence counsel Nigel Hughes and presiding Judge James Bovell-Drakes and then calmly walked out to freedom with his relatives.

The late Elvis Fernandes was shot at Mandela Avenue
The late Elvis Fernandes was shot at Mandela Avenue

Prosecutors Tamica Clarke and Stacy Goodings led the State’s case. It was in 2014 that Fernandes was allegedly shot and killed during an argument with a minibus driver. Police had noted that the driver of the minibus and the driver of a motor car had an argument earlier at Mandela Avenue as a result of a damage accident involving the two vehicles. “The drivers of the two vehicles later crossed paths again along Mandela Avenue as the minibus stopped to put off a passenger and another argument arose. On this occasion, Elvis Fernandes and a plain clothes Policeman were in the motor car,” Police had noted.
Somehow, Fernandes became involved in the argument along with the driver of the minibus, during which he was shot to his chest by a man who was a passenger in the minibus and who had begun discharging rounds from a firearm, who was believed to be Britton. It had been reported that a Policeman was said to have made efforts to pacify the situation and had responded and discharged a round from his service firearm which struck the armed man who was on trial for murder. In his closing remarks on Monday, Defence Counsel Hughes pointed the court and jury to the discrepancies in the Police account, suggesting that it may have been a rank that shot the now deceased Fernandes and had alleged a “Police cover-up”.
Prosecutor Clarke had however contended that the defense’s argument was a “fabrication”, noting that the defendant changed his story at least three times.