By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN who stood trial accused of invading a woman’s home and tickling her awake was acquitted of burglary by a Supreme Court jury yesterday.
Quinton Bethel, 31, told the jury during his closing address on Monday that the prosecution produced no concrete or consistent evidence concerning the alleged home invasion on Wellington Street on the morning of September 8, 2015. Bethel represented himself during the trial.
The jury, following Justice Vera Watkins’ summation of the Crown’s evidence and Bethel’s arguments, deliberated for less than two hours and returned a 6-3 not guilty verdict.
Before leaving the court, Bethel requested a copy of his detention record for the time that he was held at the Quakoo Street police station as well as the transcripts for the final day of the case.
The jury had previously heard the testimony of a woman who said she was woken by a man she claimed to be Bethel, who was rubbing her feet. It frightened her and she screamed and the laughing burglar fled the house.
Bethel, who faced a 20-year sentence if convicted, had argued that the complainant was mistaken and the prosecution had no evidence.
“The prosecution, if you remember, had my charge re-read all over again,” Mr Bethel said in Monday’s closing addresses.
“You would’ve noticed assault was added. It shows a deficit in their case. I’m standing here because the complainant identified me, or so she says. She admitted to telling her cousin (that) she said she saw someone,” he said.
Bethel also asked the jury to bear in mind that no fingerprints were found on the supposed knife photographed underneath the window used to gain access to the house.
“How do we know someone actually broke into their house? Who’s to say this wasn’t staged? I’m here simply because someone said ‘it’s him’ and the government proceeded with taking my life away with no concrete evidence, only this girl saying ‘it’s him’.”
He told the jury that the prosecution was attempting to use their emotions to produce a conviction as opposed to using evidence.
“This whole thing has been a waste of your time and mine’s. The evidence by the Crown shows that the prosecutor had intended to charge me for rape. But there’s no rape charge because it would be a defamation of character if I’m found not guilty. Your son or daughter could be here today,” Bethel stressed.
Abagail Farrington and Maria Zancolla prosecuted the case.