Approximately four (4) years after the shooting death of ex-police Prosecutor Cainisaac ‘Bally J’ Edwards, 36, of Telescope St. Andrew, the St. George’s High Court was forced to declare a mistrial in the Non-Capital Murder case brought against the accused, Stephen Croney, who was 33-years-old at the time of the fatal incident.
The trial commenced last month before Madam Justice Paula Gilford at the St. George’s No. 1 High Court, with 20 witnesses providing evidence for the Crown but the Judge ordered a retrial, after a 12-member jury failed to reach a unanimous decision during their deliberations, which concluded just after 7.00 p.m. on Monday.
Attorney for the murder accused, Andre Thomas confirmed to THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday, his intention to seek bail for his client, who has been held on remand at the Richmond Hill Prison since May 2018.
The 37-year-old plumber, who is also from Telescope, St. Andrew, was apprehended by police hours after the May 20, 2018 shooting death of Edwards, which occurred around 2:30 a.m., in the vicinity of a popular bar in his home village.
The deceased, who was also known as “The Boss” and a suspected drug baron, was a popular figure in St. Andrew with strong ties to the now opposition New National Party (NNP).
Edwards received several gunshot wounds to his body, and was pronounced dead at the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau, St. Andrew, where he was rushed to seek medical attention after the shooting.
Police investigators were not able to recover the firearm that was used to discharge the bullets that struck Cainisaac.
However, in what he described as “a solid case of circumstantial evidence,” Senior Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Howard Pinnock, who led the prosecution’s case against the murder suspect, failed to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Croney who discharged the firearm that killed Cainisaac.
In his closing remarks to the 12-member jury panel during Monday’s hearing, Croney’s defense counsel pointed to several inconsistencies and contradictions in the Prosecution’s case against his client, noting that in many instances the evidence provided by the witnesses for the State “did not make sense and were not credible.”
Attorney Thomas warned the jury that because of the seriousness of the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment “they cannot embark on a guessing game to determine one’s fate,” and urged them to return a unanimous not guilty verdict against his client.
After more than four hours of deliberations, the jury returned a split seven (7) – five (5) verdict sending the state Prosecution team back to the drawing board.
The murder accused Croney, will now have to wait for another date to be set in the upcoming assizes for the start of his second trial.