By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
CONSTABLES Akiel Smith and Carl Smith were acquitted yesterday of manslaughter charges related to the 2013 death of 20-year-old Aaron Rolle after a judge directed jurors to acquit them.
Justice Vera Watkins made the decision following a “no case submission” from lawyer Wayne Munroe who represented the men. Mr Munroe argued the Crown presented no evidence the officers committed a crime.
Prosecutor Kendra Kelly indicated the Office of the Attorney General will appeal the ruling. The reasons for Justice Watkins’ directive to the jurors were not given yesterday, however; her written ruling is expected next week.
Rolle was found dead at the Southern Police Station on February 9, 2013, having died of haemorrhaging and a ruptured intestine caused by blunt force trauma to his chest.
The constables were charged with manslaughter after jurors concluded during a 2013 Coroner’s Court inquest that Rolle’s death was a result of an “unlawful killing.”
Yesterday’s verdict is the latest development in the long-running, high profile case.
“That was the right decision,” Mr Munroe said afterward. “There was no evidence to call on the officers. This is the end of something that should never have troubled them.
“No one established our clients did anything to Aaron Rolle,” he added. “Even more important than that, there was nothing to say he didn’t receive whatever injury he got while trying to escape. This is a fella who had escaped custody before from that very same station. Nobody saw anybody beating him.”