Man found not guilty of felonious wounding in 2017 shooting incident

Osafo Swain

Osafo Swain, the man who had been on trial for the offence of felonious wounding over shooting another man with a gun, was on Wednesday acquitted by a Demerara High Court jury.

The jury returned a unanimous not-guilty verdict, freeing the accused.

The indictment against Swain stated that on July 26, 2017, in the county of Demerara, he discharged a loaded firearm at Ewart Blair with the intent to maim, disable or disfigure him.

Upon his arraignment before Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall, Swain had pleaded not guilty to the charge; and as such, a jury was empanelled to hear the evidence in the case.

The accused was initially indicted for attempt to commit murder with the alternative count of felonious wounding. However, upon reviewing the evidence, Justice Morris-Ramlall on Wednesday directed the jury to return a formal not guilty verdict on the more serious charge.

The trial judge stated to the jury, among other things, that the case lacked forensic evidence in respect to what was taken from the virtual complainant’s leg during a summary of the evidence for the alternative count. According to her, a doctor had testified that a warhead was removed from the man’s left leg and that his injuries posed no immediate danger.

The complainant, who was the prosecution’s main witness, had testified that at around 21:30 hours on the day in question, he was sitting in front of his house at Freeman Street, East La Penitence, Georgetown when Swain, who was armed with a gun, shot at him twice.
Blair had said that one of the bullets struck him in his left leg.

Blair had testified that after shooting him, Swain fled as he dashed into his neighbor’s yard and took cover under a tree. He said he subsequently walked to the East La Penitence Police Outpost and Police ranks transported him to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

He spent seven days at the medical facility. Additionally, he had claimed that he was unaware of any justification for Swain wanting to hurt him given the fact that they were not at odds.

Swain was apprehended a few days after the shooting at his Hadfield Street, Georgetown home.

In his defence, Swain had opted to remain silent.

Swain was initially charged with the crime on July 31, 2017, and was remanded to prison when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

In December 2017, he was committed to stand trial after a Magistrate ruled that prima facie evidence was led against him when a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) ended.