Retrial ordered in Sandiford-Garner case
The two men accused of robbing a Government senator of a cellular phone in October 2011 are to face a fresh trial.
That determination was made by Justice Olson Alleyne this afternoon, after the court was informed that a key police witness, who fell ill on Monday, was given three weeks’ sick leave by a doctor.
Reneko Jamal Taylor, 22, of Block 5F Division Drive, Eden Lodge and Jermaine Julia Andre Worrell, 23, of Hinds Hill, Cave Hill, St Michael were on trial, accused of robbing Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner of a $1 000 cellular phone on October 12, 2011. Worrell faced an additional count of unlawful wounding.
The lengthy trial, which began on March 9, saw a number of events which prevented its progress. At one point, it was adjourned because a juror was sick, the judge was also sick for a week as well as attorney-at-law Marlon Gordon, who was defending Taylor. Co-counsel Saffiya Moore sat during that time.
Two voir dires (a trial within a trial held in the absence of the jury) were conducted consecutively and those lasted four weeks.
The first voir dire began minutes after Sergeant Alwyn Austin began his evidence, when attorney-at-law Kendrid Sargeant made legal submissions on behalf of his client, Worrell. After a week, Taylor’s attorney Gordon then made his legal submissions.
Austin would have been in the precincts of the court at the time waiting to give evidence, after the judge ruled on the voir dire. That ruling came late last week, but by the time the lawman was called, he was not feeling well and the case was adjourned. Austin’s subsequent visit to the doctor resulted in the sick leave.
Justice Alleyne felt today that it would be best to discharge the jury at this stage and bound the case over to the next continuous sittings. Five of 12 witnesses had testified so far during the trial, including the Government Senator.
She told the court of how she fought and screamed her way through a robbery at knife-point. She spoke of being robbed around 11 p.m. in the Warrens Super Centre car park, while talking on her cellular phone.
Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts prosecuted the matter.