–after victims refuse to testify
JUSTICE Rishi Persaud on Tuesday directed two separate jury panels at the Demerara Assizes to return not-guilty verdicts in favour of three accused, because the victims decided not to testify against them.
In the first case, brothers Elroy Parks and Gary Atkinson had allegedly raped a victim in 2004, and she reported her ordeal to the police. The brothers appeared in court, pleaded not guilty to the offence, and had a mixed jury empanelled to try their case. But instead of coming to court and narrating what she had told police, the young alleged victim disclosed that she did not wish to say anything in the matter, leaving the judge with no alternative other than to direct the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty in favour of the accused. The two accused were later discharged by the judge.
A similar situation developed in respect to the case of William Gomes of Soesdyke/Linden Highway, who also pleaded not guilty to the offence of carnal knowledge, said to have been committed in 2007.
When the alleged victim refused to testify, the judge again had to direct the jury to return a verdict of not guilty in favour of Gomes, who was later discharged.
Attorney-at-law Miss Mercedes Thompson of the Chambers of the DPP prosecuted in both cases.
By George Barclay