Eight criminal matters were completed in the January 2011 Criminal Assizes that came to an end on March 31, according to a press release from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Five of the eight matters were heard before Justice Winston Patterson while three were heard by Justice Dawn Gregory.
According to the press release, the five cases which were heard by Justice Patterson were for the offences of murder and carnal knowledge.
Two of these five cases were for the offence of carnal knowledge and in one of those cases the accused pleaded guilty to the offence and in the other the jury returned a majority guilty verdict. The accused who plead guilty was sentenced to three years imprisonment and in the second case the accused was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment.
The release revealed that in one of the three murder cases, the accused pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment whereas in the other two cases the accused pleaded not guilty and in both cases the jury found the accused not guilty.
The three cases before Justice Dawn Gregory were for the offence of murder and in all of them there were not guilty verdicts.
In one of the cases, the jury deliberated and returned a not guilty verdict and in the other two cases the trial judge directed the jury to return formal verdicts of not guilty because the caution statements which were the body and soul of the cases were found to be inadmissible.
Meanwhile, the State has since filed appeals in relation to three of the murder trials.
In two of the cases, the accused was granted bail pending the appeal. The DPP said prior to this right of the State to appeal as provided for in the Court of Appeal (Amendment) Act 2010, the State could have filed a DPP’s Reference.
There are currently eleven (11) References, filed by the DPP under Section 32A of the Court of Appeal Act, waiting to be heard by the Appellate Court, the earliest dating back to 2004, the release added.