Child rape accused freed after jury deadlocked

Joel Patterson

A young man accused of raping an 11-year-old girl yesterday walked out of a court a free man after a jury was unable to arrive at verdicts for the two charges laid against him.

The 12-member mixed jury was evenly split on the charges that Joel Patterson sexually penetrated the child on two occasions, sometime between September 1st and November 14th of 2016.

After deliberating for almost five hours, the jury emerged and indicated the deadlock through its forewoman.

Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, who presided over the in-camera trial proceedings at the Sexual Offences Court of the Georgetown High Court, declared a hung jury.

The judge then told Patterson, who is in his 20s, that he was free to step out of the prisoner’s dock, but explained to him that the Director of Public Prosecutions will determine and inform him whether he will be retried.

Both the former-accused and his relatives, who were seen fervently praying on the corridors outside as they awaited the return of the jury, praised God and thanked their attorney, Maxwell McKay, as they left the courthouse.

The state’s case was led by Prosecutor Seeta Bishundial, in association with Abigail Gibbs and Tiffini Lyken.

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