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Man Free After Unanimous Not Guilty Verdict

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A MAN walked free from a possible life sentence yesterday after a Supreme Court jury unanimously acquitted him of attempted murder.

The jury believed Robert Gaitor’s defence that he did not intentionally shoot Valentino Yestan around 5am on July 14, 2012 when they returned 9-0 not guilty verdicts on attempted murder and the lesser charge of causing grievous harm. The jury’s deliberation lasted little more than an hour.

Gaitor, who was on bail during the trial, was told by Justice Bernard Turner that he was free to go.

Up to yesterday’s conclusion, the 46-year-old of Cowpen Road had denied the attempted murder charge concerning the near fatal shooting incident, which took place during his early morning devotions.

Earlier this week, in closing arguments, Prosecutor Kristan Stubbs told the jurors that the accused wanted them to believe he was “in such imminent danger.”

She said Mr Gaitor’s tenants testified that the victim was known to their landlord because he frequented the property, being a close family-friend. The prosecutor further noted that the arresting officer in the case was present when Gaitor had to be contacted to return to the scene of the shooting.

The complainant, the prosecutor added, also said that he had known Mr Gaitor from serving him a drink at the bar and identified himself before he was shot.

“This story that the defendant is telling you was concocted,” the prosecutor submitted.

Terrel Butler, in response to the Crown’s case, told the jury that the prosecution would have them believe “he deliberately went out and shot the complainant.”

She said that her client was in a situation where he was in danger and had no choice but to use his shotgun because the object in the complainant’s hand appeared to be a gun and he had refused to stop when asked to.

She said her client acted in self defence as the law allows in certain circumstances. “Mr Gaitor is a hard-working man who leaves his premises from 5.30am to go to work and doesn’t return home until night,” she added.

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