Leon Duncan, who was on trial for murder, sprinted out of the High Court and ran down South Road, Georgetown with his family in pursuit after being acquitted by the jury yesterday afternoon.
Duncan was on trial for the murder of businessman Imtiaz Roopnarine, who was fatally shot during the course of a robbery at Cool Square Hotel in 2013.
Duncan, also known as “Whistle”, of Williamstad Road, Festival City, North Ruimveldt, Georgetown, was on trial before Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry for a charge, which stated that on January 24, 2013, at the Cool Square Hotel in Marigold Street, West Ruimveldt Georgetown, he murdered Roopnarine during the course of a robbery.
The deceased was said to be wearing several pieces of expensive jewellery at the time, and after being shot, the 47-year-old businessman ran to the back of the hotel where he collapsed and died.
According to reports, he had been preparing to leave the hotel moments before the incident. The perpetrator had reportedly escaped with a gold-and-diamond chain worth $500,000, one gold band worth $700,000, and other jewellery; all to a total value of $2,200,000.
The State was represented by Prosecutors Stacey Goodings, Tuanna Hardy and Orinthia Schmidt, and the defendant was represented by Attorney Mark Waldron.
On Friday, after a no-case submission by the defence was overruled by Justice Sewnarine-Beharry, the defendant was called to lead his case. The defendant opted to give unsworn testimony from the prisoner’s dock where he vehemently maintained his innocence.
He admitted to being at the hotel that night, telling the court that he, along with a female friend, whose name he gave as “Tiana”, rented a room there after a party. He recollected that twice, during the night, he had called his common-law wife using “Tiana’s” phone to tell her that he would be returning home. He denied shooting the deceased, saying “I am innocent of this crime. I did not kill the deceased, nor I did not rob the deceased”.
During the trial, Inspector Singh had testified, saying that during “Tiana’s” questioning, she gave a different version of the story. He said that the woman related that on that night, the accused had used her phone but whispered the conversation. He further recollected that the woman had stated that when she left that hotel at about 04:00h the following morning, the accused had not left with her. Singh said that the woman alleged that the accused called her the next day and told her that she should tell the Police that he left the hotel with her if they questioned her.
Nevertheless, the jury delivered a unanimous verdict of not guilty, freeing the accused.