Defence argues that murder accused Jeffrey Daniel has no case to answer

Defendant Jeffrey Daniel (File photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

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Defence lawyers representing Jeffrey Daniel in the country’s historic first judge-only murder trial have submitted arguments before the court to have the case thrown out.

Daniel is accused of killing Robinson ‘David’ Roberts on May 21 2021 in Newfield.

Daniel has been on trial over the past few days during which the prosecution presented witnesses to shed light on the events of the fateful day.

Evidence suggests that a confrontation ensued between Roberts and Daniel when the accused came in search of his ex-girlfriend, who happened to be the stepdaughter of the deceased.

Accounts indicate that Daniel had previously been warned not to return to the residence, and on the day of the incident, he was confronted by Roberts, who wielded a cutlass.

Some narratives further indicate that a struggle broke out between the two men, resulting in the deceased’s lifeless body being discovered approximately five minutes down the road, near his garage.

Wendel Alexander and Wayne Marsh serve as Daniel’s legal representatives. Alexander put forward a no-case submission yesterday in an effort to quash the proceedings against the accused.

According to him, an essential element of the offence remains unproven and the prosecution’s case is generally weak.

He asserted that there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the accused had an intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily harm – a critical aspect of establishing mens rea, or the guilty mind.

Alexander argued that Daniel’s motive for being at the scene was to see his former partner, with whom he had had a nine-year relationship, rather than to harm the deceased.

Furthermore, he reminded Justice Tunde Bakre that none of the witnesses actually witnessed the alleged “scuffle” between the two men.

The defence attorney also highlighted conflicting testimonies and contended that some of the accounts provided are, therefore, unreliable.

Alexander also pointed out that the deceased was the one who armed himself, suggesting that he was the aggressor in the situation.

The prosecution, however, responded by reiterating that their case rests on circumstantial evidence, using legal precedent to reinforce their position.

The Crown contended that all the evidence points in one direction, leading to an “inescapable conclusion” that the defendant was responsible for the deceased’s death.

The prosecutor rebuffed Alexander’s argument about conflicting testimonies by positing that the mere fact that the deceased’s wife and stepdaughter were in separate areas of the two-bedroom house could account for their hearing different details of the incident.

Furthermore, he maintained that there was nothing presented that could discredit the main witnesses to the extent that their testimonies should be disbelieved.

The prosecution acknowledged that the defendant’s actions may not have been premeditated but argued that he still caused Roberts’ death.

They emphasised the pathologist’s testimony, which indicated the severity of the deceased’s wounds, including the fact that two of his ribs were broken. According to the prosecution, the force used to inflict such an injury suggests an intention to cause serious harm or death.

Justice Bakre adjourned the proceedings to review the submissions and make a final decision regarding the case.

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