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Man cleared after written statement thrown out

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Man cleared after written statement thrown out
Justice Carlisle Greaves (FILE)

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A judge threw out the written statement and set free a man who was facing five burglary matters as he bemoaned police not using available technology to take statements from accused.

Justice Carlisle Greaves made the remarks during the trial of Gabriel Orlando Slocombe in the No. 3 Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Slocombe, 20, of Country Park Towers, St Michael, pleaded not guilty to five counts of entering Mohammed Patel’s house on January 18, 2018, and stealing two cell phones and $1 700 belonging to him; a cell phone and $50 belonging to Asef Mangera; $300 belonging to Latif Patel; a cell phone and $350 belonging to Ahmed Kara, and a cell phone and $50 belonging to Ismail Hans, while armed with a firearm and a knife.

He was represented by Queen’s Counsel Michael Lashley, Dr Lenda Blackman and Seantelle Parris, while Senior Crown Counsel Neville Watson and Senior Crown Counsel Rudolph Burnett prosecuted.

The defence challenged the admissibility of the written and oral statements which police said Slocombe made while he was in their custody.

In the absence of the jury, Lashley argued that Slocombe was 18 at the time and that he was beaten, ill-treated and not fed until the day after police took the statement from him.

The attorney submitted it was unfair of police to question Slocombe, from evening until night, without feeding him and that it had sapped his will.

The prosecution contended the statement was given freely and voluntarily.

Justice Greaves, however, ruled the written and oral statements inadmissible.

“This is the 21st Century and a recent statement taken only two years ago, was recorded in the absence of any use of technology,” the judge said.

He then ordered the nine-member jury to return formal not guilty verdicts on each count and told Slocombe he was free on those offences.

Lashley later said he “wholeheartedly agreed” with the judge’s ruling.

“We have various tools. The technology is available and the taking of a statement without the use of technology creates suspicion and can result in an injustice to suspects who are in police custody,” he said. (HLE)

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