Both tears of joy and sadness erupted in the courtroom of Justice Navindra Singh on Wednesday after a 26-year-old miner, Trevor Williams, was set free following a unanimous not guilty verdict returned by a 12-member jury on a manslaughter charge at the Demerara High Court.
The former accused faced the indictment which detailed that between June 4-5, 2013, at Bruck-up Landing, North West District, Region One (Barima-Waini), he unlawfully killed Randy Raphael. The accused pleaded not guilty to the offence.
Back in April of 2013, Williams was charged with murder when he made his first court appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. However, Williams was slapped with a manslaughter charge when he appeared at the High Court on Wednesday.
The accused was represented by Attorney Mark Conway while the State’s case was presented by Prosecutors Teriq Mohammed in association with Tuanna Hardy and Abigail Gibbs.
After a total of five witnesses testified, the State had closed the case, however, Defence Attorney Conway made a no-case submission to the court, contending that the State failed to prove its case or find sufficient evidence for Williams to be convicted of the charge instituted against him.
Facts presented indicated that on the day in question, the accused found a shotgun which he picked up and took back to his mining camp. Moments later, Raphael, a friend of the accused was trying to open the said firearm but Williams took it from him and also tried to open it during which a round of ammunition went off and hit Raphael in the head resulting in his death. Williams realising what he has caused left the scene, but after several days he turned himself in to the Police at the Port Kiatuma Police Station.
Justice Singh while informing Williams that he is now a free man, encouraged the young man to “be careful” the next time as he made a mistake the last time which caused the death of his friend.