The charge of murder which was filed against Ari Abdulah Vassell 18 months ago has been dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Yesterday, Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel-Edwards ruled in favour of the defence, which had called for the dismissal of the case.
Vassell, a Jamaican national represented by attorney Andrew O’Kola, was on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison since his arrest in early 2018. After the case was thrown out, however, he was still not allowed to go free, as immigration officials took him into custody and he is likely to be removed from the country.
In fighting for the dismissal of the murder charge, defence counsel O’Kola contended that the court should not commit the defendant to stand trial in the High Court, considering that the documentation filed by the Crown did not establish or was incapable of establishing the elements of the indictable charge before the court.
The lawyer argued that anyone who did a proper assessment of the evidence in the case file would conclude that it was “irrelevant and tangential in respect of the essential question to be answered.
“Therefore it is our submission that on the face of the papers, no case has been presented that has a reasonable prospect of successful submission and the Crown is remiss in seeking to prosecute this matter in light of what evidence has been disclosed so far,” O’Kola argued.
It was contended that the prosecution had no eyewitness evidence, and was relying heavily upon the opinion of an individual who gave three statements to the police, the latter of which differed from the first two and which also contained an opinion that the defendant had to have been the one who committed the crime because of how he was “moving” on the night of the incident.
Addressing that aspect of the prosecution’s case, the defence said the information was inadmissible and could not sustain the weight of the standard of proof required even at the committal proceedings stage.
The dismissal of the murder charge follows the dismissal of another charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice which was said to be linked to the same killing.
Last September, Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh threw out that perversion case against Vassell due to insufficient evidence.