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Man not guilty of helping alleged gunman

A man charged in connection with the murder of Rickai Swan has been found not guilty after a judge ruled he had no case to answer.

Prosecutors had alleged that Taj Browne, 22, was an accessory to last year's fatal shooting after the fact, but that Shantoine Prinston Burrows, 25, was the gunman.

Both men have denied the offences, but while the trial of Mr Burrows is expected to continue on Monday, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons yesterday morning instructed the jury to find Mr Browne not guilty. “As a result of a ruling I have made on the law, I have determined that Mr Browne has no case to answer and you must accept my ruling as a matter of law,” she said.

The jury subsequently delivered a not-guilty verdict in the case of Mr Browne.

Mr Swan was fatally shot on October 23, 2015 at the Southampton Rangers Sports Club while his friend, Damiko Gibbons, was shot in the shoulder by the same gunman.

Prosecutors had alleged that Mr Browne had assisted in the offence by knowingly picking Mr Burrows up after the shooting took place.

Earlier in the trial, the court heard evidence from a witness who claimed he was with Mr Burrows and other friends on the evening of the shooting.

He testified that while riding to Hamilton, Mr Burrows rode away from the group saying he had to “handle his business”.

He claimed that Mr Browne later went to collect Mr Burrows and, upon his return, said that Mr Burrows had confessed the shooting to him.

The witness also claimed that a month later, Mr Burrows himself confessed committing the murder. However, under cross-examination, the witness admitted that he did not have the kind of relationship with Mr Burrows that the defendant would confide in him, and that on the day of the alleged confession Mr Burrows had broken his jaw in the belief the witness had stolen his watch.

He also admitted that the day after the confession he was sent to prison for burglary, and was being investigated for further offences when he gave a statement against Mr Burrows.

The court has also heard evidence that Mr Burrows's DNA and gun shot residue was discovered on a motorcycle found abandoned on Spice Hill Road after the shooting.

It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

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Published September 30, 2016 at 11:54 am (Updated October 01, 2016 at 1:40 am)

Man not guilty of helping alleged gunman

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