By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MISTRIAL was declared yesterday in a high-profile case in which a man is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy.
On discovery that one of the nine jurors is related to the complainant, in the interest of fairness, presiding judge Senior Justice Jon Isaacs discharged the jury and ordered that 38-year-old Kohfe Goodman be retried.
It means that Goodman of Yorkshire Drive will have to return to the Supreme Court on May 12, 2014 to stand trial again on charges of kidnapping and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
Prosecutors alleged that the accused, on August 17, 2011, abducted a 12-year-old boy from Augusta Street and had sex with him.
Goodman, who is defended by lawyer Geoffrey Farquharson, denied the allegations.
During the brief trial, only two witnesses gave evidence.
On Monday, Sgt Esther Miller told the court that she photographed the apartment of a Cable Beach townhouse building on Yorkshire Drive and collected three towels found inside the apartment, before submitting the packaged evidence to the Police Forensic Laboratory.
The 12-year-old boy, who cried as he was brought to court by a prosecutor and “watching brief” lawyer Glendon Rolle, also gave evidence on Monday, telling the court that he was sexually assaulted by a man who forced him into a car in the street, drove him past Cable Beach and sexually assaulted him on a bare mattress in the apartment bedroom.
The boy was expected to complete his evidence in yesterday’s session of the trial. However, that never happened as counsel and the judge had a discussion in chambers for nearly 30 minutes.
When they returned to the courtroom, the judge asked for the media to leave the courtroom.
Minutes later, the media and jury were allowed to return to the court.
Senior Justice Isaacs then addressed the jurors. He said that one of them was related to the child’s mother and in the interest of fairness he would discharge the jury.
The judge said the court would take the blame for this error in not assuring that all of the witnesses were shown to the jurors.
The jury was then discharged and the next issue raised was finding a date for retrial.
Garvin Gaskin, the deputy director of public prosecutions, asked the court if the matter could be set for January or February next year.
He reasoned that an early retrial date would allow the boy to take the steps in moving past the traumatic experience.
However, Mr Farquharson told the court that the date was not only not convenient for him as he was booked until May of 2013, he also recalled the court noting that the earliest available date for trial would be June 2014.
He said it would not be right for the other “more serious” cases to be bumped off for the matter.
Senior Justice Isaacs said he understood and sympathized with the Crown’s position but conceded that the court’s earliest and most convenient date for a retrial was May 2014.
He said that if an early date becomes available, counsel would be notified. In the meantime, a status hearing in that regard was set for February 11, 2013.
The judge told Goodman that his remand to Her Majesty’s Prison remained in effect.
Goodman grinned as he was escorted from court to a holding cell at the Central Police Station. On the walk to the cell, he shouted on Bank Lane that “Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord” before asking the media to print what he said.
Mr Farquharson defended Goodman in the two-day trial.
Mr Gaskin, Darell Taylor and Kristan Stubbs prosecuted for the Crown.