By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MURDER retrial will have to begin yet again after a jury was discharged “in the interests of justice”.
An issue of law prompted Justice Roy Jones to tell the 12-member jury and three alternates, in the trial of double murder accused George Prince Williams, that he would discharge them.
“There’s an issue arising in law and I’m going to have to discharge you of arriving at a verdict in this case. I’m sorry about this but it has to be done in the interest of justice” he told the jurors.
Afterwards, he told the 33-year-old Williams that a new date would for trial would be set and that he would be remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison until that time.
On Tuesday, a potential prejudicial statement made during a defending attorney’s cross-examination of a witness caused an issue of law to arise, caused a halt in the trial and for the jury to be excused while counsel and the judge discussed the legal matter.
The prosecution opened its case against the 32-year-old Freeport accused who is being retried on two charges of murder. It is alleged that on April 23, 2008, he caused the death of 32-year-old Andy Weekes and 29-year-old Terrel Mingo. Weekes and Mingo were both shot in the head behind a house on Adventurer’s Way. Weekes died at the scene and Mingo died the following day.
The court first heard evidence from Cpl 5424 Leo McPhee who testified that he, on April 28, 2008, went to the Rand Lab at the Rand Memorial Hospital where an autopsy had been performed on the two men who were shot and killed. He also told the court that he took photos of the bodies, and had them developed from negatives at a photo studio in Freeport.
Before the officer could continue his evidence, the judge excused the jury and discussed a legal matter with counsel. The photos were not shown to the jury when they returned to the courtroom.
Next on the witness stand was a relative of Terrel Mingo, who testified that she flew from Nassau to Grand Bahama and went with her family to identify the body of her deceased relative.
Following the female relative’s testimony, police Sergeant 1427 Wilbert Rogers took the witness stand and told the court how he was called to the scene of a double shooting at No. 94 Adventures Way. He said he noticed the ambulances and patrol cars present on the scene and after inspecting the scene, came upon a male lying on a stretcher with what appeared to be a gunshot wound above his left eye.
The Sergeant said he’d asked the man who shot him and the man gave the name “Geo.” Roger Gomez II objected and asked for a private discussion in the absence of the jury, the second for the day. Following the discussion, the officer had to retract his last statement. He continue his evidence concerning his involvement in the case.
Following his testimony, a civilian witness, who will not be identified for his protection, took the witness stand and told the court that he knew the accused.
Mr Gomez made a certain suggestion to the witness concerning his testimony.
The proceedings were stopped while the judge excused the jury to allow the third private discussion with counsel on the opening day of trial. Following the private discussion, the matter was adjourned to yesterday morning.
Private discussions continued and ended at 11.30am when the jurors were recalled to the courtroom and Justice Jones discharged them of arriving at a verdict in this case.
The case is now set for a second retrial scheduled to take place on November 25, 2013. However, an earlier date, March 4, was set in the event that time became available to allow for the matter to be retried around that time.
When the initial trial took place before Senior Justice Hartman Longley in October 2010, Williams faced the charges along with Dwan Culmer. The case was heard before a six-woman, six-man jury when Culmer turned Crown witness against Williams.
The charges against Culmer were dropped. Williams physically attacked his attorney, K Brian Hanna, afterwards, resulting in the attorney withdrawing from the case the following day. The judge then ordered a retrial in Nassau.
On Monday, the jury was impanelled. Twelve main jurors and three alternates were selected to hear the evidence. Terry Archer and Aaron Johnson were prosecuting while Mr Gomez II idefended Williams