Corderold Wallace, above, receives a hug from his mother after being cleared. Photos: Vandyke Hepburn
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
MOMENTS after he was acquitted of the murder and armed robbery of a Grand Bahama businessman, defendant Corderold Wallace declared it “is good to finally be free.”
Wallace spent five years on remand in prison awaiting the outcome of his trial.
He was charged with Dudley Seide Jr, who was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of armed robbery yesterday.
Following the verdict, lawyer Osman Johnson indicated that he intends to file a suit against the Crown seeking compensation for the years that Wallace was locked up in prison.
Both men were on trial in the Supreme Court for the murder and armed robbery of Leslie Maycock, who was robbed and shot at the Hawksbill Mini Mart on July 15, 2009.
After several hours of deliberations, the jury of seven women and five men returned around 4pm, but was unable to reach a verdict on one of the four charges.
Senior Justice Hartman Longley asked them to retire again and to try to reach a verdict. They returned around 6:15pm.
Seide was found not guilty of murder by a vote of 9-3. The jury found Wallace not guilty of murder by a unanimous vote. On the armed robbery charge, Seide was found guilty by a vote of 8-4, and Wallace was found not guilty by a vote of 8-4.
Justice Longley told Wallace that he was acquitted of the charges and was free to go.
In case of Seide, the prosecution accepted the guilty verdict for armed robbery. Sentencing is set for October 9.
The defence has requested a probation report for Seide.
During the trial, Seide and Wallace claimed that they were tortured by police to give statements. It was also claimed that both men did not fit the description of the two men who Maycock had described to police as being 5’9” and having black complexions.
Maycock, 50, was a retired police officer. After being robbed and shot, he attempted to drive himself to the hospital, but got into an accident and crashed at the roundabout of Pioneer’s Way and West Atlantic Drive. He was later taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he died eight days later.
Mr Johnson was happy with the verdict.
“I feel absolutely vindicated by the verdict, it is a true and just verdict,” he said. “It reflects the fact that there was absolutely no evidence against Corderold Wallace.
“He was held for five years on remand, the question now is what do we do in response to the half decade this young man has lost in his life.
“I believe it sends a clear message that the state of civil liberties in this country is under question in circumstances where our young men can be incarcerated for years at a time with no evidence at all; in circumstances where a case can advance to the Supreme Court, and be sent to the jury on such tenuous grounds.
“We intend, now that he has been vindicated and proven innocent, to take the matter further and pursue the Crown for compensation on behalf of Corderold Wallace, and I am adamant about that,” Mr Johnson said.
Prosecutor Erica Kemp and Desiree Ferguson appeared on behalf of the Crown. Simeon Brown represented Seide.