Lakeraj Fredericks, who is accused of the 2011 murder of Clifton Bonus, will have to face a retrial after the jury could not decide on a verdict at the conclusion of his trial at the High Court on Monday.
Fredericks, of 12 Independence Street, La Grange, had been jointly charged with a juvenile for the murder of Bonus, whose body was discovered on June 8, 2011, dumped in a gully in the backlands of the old airstrip at Linden. Post-mortem results revealed that he died of haemorrhaging, which resulted from two gunshot wounds to the head.
Having heard the evidence presented in court during the course of the trial, the case was summed up and the jury was sent to deliberate. After about two hours of deliberation, the jury made a request for further guidance from the judge, since its members could not reach a unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty.
According to the foreman, the jurors were of the opinion that the caution statement given by Fredericks was not authentic and had several discrepancies. Additionally, the issue of discrepancies in the testimony of several witnesses was another issue that prevented them from reaching a unanimous verdict.
In offering guidance, Justice Jo-Ann Barlow explained that if they are of the view that sections of caution statement are untrue, they would have no other place to look since the only evidence that speaks to Fredericks’ involvement in the murder is in that of the caution statement. There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder.
After receiving the additional guidance, the jurors returned to deliberate for an additional 45 minutes. Once more, the foreman reported that they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict and the trial ended in a hung jury.
Fredericks was subsequently informed that he will be returned to the Camp Street Prison until he is called for a retrial.
State attorneys Siand Dhurjon and Shawnette Austin led the prosecution, while attorneys Lawrence Harris and Hewley Griffith appeared for Fredericks.