DPP justifies withdrawing murder charge

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The Director of Public Prosecutions, Anthony Armstrong, said the police erred when they hastened to charge Malvern James with murdering his neighbour and family friend Glenmore “Nattie” Hughes last year.
In a September 19 letter to Superintendent Dave Jackson, Armstrong expressed disappointment that the matter involving an important issue of the law was not sent to him before the police decided to charge James for causing the death of 51-year-old Hughes.
“As it now stands the deceased’s family must surely be disappointed as having seen police arrest and charge the accused for the deceased’s death [and] now hear that there was no basis in the law to have done so or that the police made a wrong decision to have charged in the first place,” Armstrong wrote.
On Monday, the case of the capital offence was discontinued against 36-year-old James who left the All Saints Magistrate’s Court a happy man upon learning from Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel that the 20-month old matter was coming to an end.
Armstrong also wrote that based on the medical report James should not have been charged with the death.
“The law requires that acts of the accused must cause the death of the deceased for him to be liable. The clear medical evidence does not point to this. On the contrary, the medical evidence shows that there was no external bruising or injury to the head upon physical examination or by CT scan of the deceased. That being the state of evidence, it has not been shown that the assault by the accused to the deceased caused his death,” the DPP stated.
The aforementioned means that despite falling and hitting his head the blow was not hard enough to cause bleeding to the brain.
He further wrote, “The doctor said it was impossible for any head trauma to have caused such a bleed on the brain as shown in the CT scan. Furthermore, that it is impossible for any head trauma to have caused such a bleeding in the brain without any external bruising and injury which was not shown on physical examination or by the CT scan.”
Two senior doctors at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre and the attending physician Dr. Janelle Welch who cared for Hughes determined that his death was as a result of hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or a stroke.
Armstrong noted that this determination was only forthcoming after requests he made to the investigating police officers to get statements from the senior doctors. 
The investigating officer claimed that he was unable to get statements from either doctor and it was only after making the request himself the investigating officer interviewed the doctors.
Both doctors revealed that “there was blood in the deceased’s brain which was consistent with a stroke caused by high blood pressure compounded by Hughes’ drinking lifestyle and his lack of medication.”
Pathologist Dr. Lester Simon conducted the post-mortem examination on the deceased which confirmed the death was due to a brain hemorrhage.
According to the main eyewitnesses on February 10, 2017, at about 9 p.m. a car driven by James slightly touched Hughes as it passed and the contents of a plastic cup that Hughes had in his hand spilled onto James’s face.
James alighted from the car and slapped Hughes three times and the final blow caused Hughes to fall to the ground. Before leaving the scene, James told those gathered around to “throw water,” on Hughes.
The injured man was assisted home and placed in a chair. However, when relatives asked Hughes what had happened, his lips were moving, but, no words were spoken. Hughes was also making hand gestures and repeatedly holding his head.
The Sea View Farm man was transported to the hospital later that night.  
James, who was remanded to prison after the incident, was initially charged with attempted murder. The charge was later upgraded to murder when Hughes died.
The accused had been on bail for most of the time he had the charge hanging over his head.

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