Four murders and one police killing yesterday marked the start of a bloody weekend.
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Man freed of kidnap charge
Princes Town resident Rachieal James was freed on Wednesday after a jury found him not guilty of kidnapping and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. James went on trial last week in the San Fernando First Criminal Court for allegedly attacking 70-year-old Joyce Ali, who also alleged he threatened to kill her. James, 35, opted not to give evidence or call witnesses. His attorney Ainsley Lucky put to Ali in cross-examination that James did not attack her but helped her when she tripped and fell on the road.
After deliberating for 90 minutes on Wednesday, the jury found James not guilty. The State’s case, led by attorneys Angelica Teelucksingh and Trevor Jones, was that the incident took place on December 23, 2007 in Princes Town. In the trial before Justice Hayden St Clair Douglas, the State led evidence from three witnesses: Ali, police complainant PC David Simon and police photographer WPC Natascha Haynes. Ali claimed James had followed her after she left the Princes Town market. On reaching the tasker road, she said James grabbed her by her neck, threatened to kill her and dragged her 100 feet down the road.
She said she struggled with James, who was choking her with his hands. Ali said James pushed her to the ground and ran off after two men came to help her. The men held James at a nearby abandoned building, tied him up and called the police. In his closing address to the jury, Lucky said James’s first encounter with Ali was at the junction, when she ran across the road and fell. “She was a senior citizen and Mr James came to her rescue to pick her up and she panicked,” Lucky said.