Thomas found guilty of manslaughter
A 19-year-old footballer was yesterday cleared by a jury of the knife murder of Raymond Butterfield — but unanimously found guilty of manslaughter.
Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said after the verdict was announced that the jury’s decision showed they had rejected claims by the defence that Thomas was not at the scene of the stabbing.
He added: “Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased. We hope that it has brought some closure to the family. Cases like this are never easy and it’s very sad and tragic that this offence took place.
Mr Butterfield died after being stabbed twice in the chest in a confrontation in the street outside of Blue Waters Anglers Club on March 5.
Mr Mussenden said: “We would like to reiterate the call that people should not be carrying knives and that there are peaceful means for people to resolve their differences.
“We hope that we will not see more cases like this happening.”
The jury delivered the verdict at about 5pm yesterday after three hours of deliberation.
Thomas, who did not give evidence during the trial, remained silent as the verdict was read out.
He was remanded in custody by Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons until September 1 for background reports.
The Supreme Court earlier heard that Mikiel Thomas stabbed Mr Butterfield in a dispute that began when a woman in the club refused the offer of a drink.
A witness told the court that the two men later brawled in the street outside the club.
The witness, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, testified that on the night of the stabbing she had been at the club with several friends.
As they went to leave the club, someone in the bar bought them shots.
When one of the friends refused the drink, another person in the bar insulted her.
The incident continued, with the witness getting into an argument with Mr Butterfield before walking out of the club.
She testified that she crossed the street, where she saw Thomas and other members of his football team, who asked her why she was upset.
When she refused to answer, she said the group crossed the street and an argument broke out between the group and those that were in the club.
The court was told the argument escalated when Mr Butterfield punched Thomas and threw a bottle at him.
Mr Butterfield went back into the club, while the witness said Thomas crossed the street and sat on a bench.
Minutes later, Mr Butterfield came out of the club and the two ran at each other and collided in the middle of the street.
While the incident was caught on CCTV, defence lawyer Kamal Worrell suggested that Thomas was not the man who clashed with Mr Butterfield and that the witness had been dishonest.
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