Thursday 20 September, 2018

Soldier accused of killing 51-year-old man and woman acquitted

A Jamaica Defence Force soldier who was arrested and charged for reportedly killing a 51-year-old mason and his 52-year-old domestic helper has been freed of the charges in the Home Circuit Court.

The soldier, Ricardo Scotchman was charged in 2016 for the double murder of Gladstone O'Conner and June Hamilton both of a St Andrew address.

The case against the soldier collapsed after the main witness admitted on oath that he lied in a written statement naming the soldier as the killer of the two St Andrew residents.

Investigators said that on July 4, 2015, O’Connor and Hamilton were walking along the Burnside Hill main road when they were shot. Private Scotchman was later arrested.

Prosecutors at the time of the incident claimed that a domestic dispute between the soldier and O'Conner led to the deadly attacks.  

The witness in the case had also provided a written statement to the police in which he said that Scotchman, who he knew before had confided in him and told him that he killed the persons.

In the cross examining the witness, Scotchman’s Attorney, Peter Champagnie brought out that the witness was not telling the truth.

The witness later said that he was pressured by the police to name the soldier.

The attorney also brought out in court that the witness himself had a case in the court.

 A formal verdict of not guilty was pronounced after the prosecution conceded that it could not proceed further in light of the evidence.