Businessman Lawrence Wayne, a licenced firearm holder who had shot and killed a suspected bandit Dexter Lindo at Light and Fifth streets, Alberttown, Georgetown in August 2014, has been found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter by a 12-member jury after deliberating for almost three hours in the Demerara High Court.
The businessman, who had been cleared of the murder charge in October 2015 when Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan had upheld a no-case submission that the defence had put forward, had been rearrested in February 2016 after the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had opted to re-institute charges against him.
The State’s case was that Wayne had pursued and shot Dexter Lindo after an alleged robbery had been perpetrated on his business place – Wayne’s Beverage Paradise on the Merriman Mall. Lindo was reportedly confronted in the vicinity of a shop and shot three times. He died just days later, while a patient at the Dr Balwant Singh Hospital.
Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, on Thursday declaring Wayne a free man, advised him to avoid trouble. Released, Wayne ran to freedom, accompanied by overjoyed relatives who were too overcome with emotion to say much. However, relatives of Lindo were visibly annoyed at the verdict, with some angrily remarking that the businessman had “murdered” their relative.
Wayne had, earlier this week, informed the court that he was relying on the statement he had given the police. According to that statement, on the day in question, he shot Lindo during a confrontation which had occurred after a robbery had been carried out on his business place.
According to Wayne’s version of events, he had received a telephone call from someone, informing him that armed men had entered and robbed his stall at the Merriman Mall. He later told police that when he arrived on scene, the men were in the process of fleeing in a waiting vehicle; so he pursued the men in his own vehicle, and confronted them at Light and Fifth streets, Alberttown, where he ordered the men to “freeze!” One of the suspected bandits allegedly pulled a gun from his waist, but Wayne opened fire on him. That, Wayne said, was how Lindo ended up being shot.
Lindo, then 26, had resided at Shell Road, Kitty, Georgetown. Police had reportedly recovered an unlicensed .32 Beretta pistol with four matching rounds in his possession at the time of the confrontation with Wayne.
About 20 witnesses testified during the trial. One of the witnesses was Wayne’s then teenage son, who was the cashier at his father’s establishment. The young man told the court that he had refused to hand over a bag of money which he had in his possession.
Wayne was represented by Attorneys Stanley Moore and Maxwell McKay, both of whom were absent on Thursday when the verdict was handed down. The State’s case was presented by Prosecutors Shawnette Austin, Tamica Clarke and Mandell Moore.