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Man cleared of attempted gun murder charge

Not guilty: Zachary Fox outside the Supreme Court (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A 22-year-old man charged with attempted murder walked free from court yesterday after he was found not guilty by a jury.

Zachary Fox said just after the verdict was announced in Supreme Court: “I’m happy to be a free man. That’s all.”

Mr Fox was charged with the attempted murder of Richard Steede and use of a firearm after a November 28, 2019 incident.

He also faced an alternative charge that he shot at Mr Steede with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

But a jury acquitted him of all the charges after three hours of deliberation.

The verdict was greeted with gasp of relief from members of Mr Fox’s family in the court.

The two-week Supreme Court trial heard that Mr Steede was shot at as he sat on his motorcycle near the junction of Happy Valley Road and Curving Avenue in Pembroke.

Mr Steede told the court that he was talking to a friend at the intersection at around 7.45pm when he spotted a motorcycle with two men on it go past.

The motorbike turned around and, as they approached Mr Steede, the passenger pointed a gun at him and opened fire.

Mr Steede told the court that as soon as he saw the weapon he tried to ride away but struck a nearby wall.

He attempted to escape on foot and ran down Curving Avenue and a nearby staircase with the gunman in pursuit.

But the weapon appeared to misfire and the gunman got back onto the bike and sped off.

Mr Steede claimed that, although the gunman wore a dark tinted visor that concealed his face, he was able to get a brief glimpse under it and recognised the attacker as Mr Fox.

He said he believed he had been targeted because he had given a statement to police about the leader of a Pembroke gang in connection with the murder of his son Morlan Steede.

Mr Steede added that Mr Fox - who was known to him - was a member of the same gang.

But Mr Steede agreed that he did not mention he had seen the gunman’s face in either of his first two police interviews.

Mr Fox admitted that he had been a gang member and a drug dealer - but denied any involvement in the shooting.

He told the court that he had spent most of the day of the shooting on Court Street in Hamilton.

He said he had gone home at about 7.30pm and remained until he was arrested later that night.

But he admitted that someone could drive from his home to the crime scene in a minute or less.

Mr Fox told the court that he had been targeted by a gunman who fired into his bedroom several times a month before Mr Steede was fired on.

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