Supreme Court Justice Herbert Lord directed a jury of eight women and four men on Wednesday, July 18, to return a verdict of not guilty in the murder trial of Neil Grey, 24, accused of killing Aaron Thomas Brooks, 21.
Justice Lord had no choice in his instructions to the jury, after two key prosecution witnesses, relatives of the victim, indicated to the court that they are not willing to testify at the trial, because they fear for their lives.
The trial lasted only minutes, while Justice Lord accepted a no-case submission from Grey’s attorney, Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington.
Aaron Brooks was 21 at the time he was shot and killed around 7:00 the evening of April 3, 2009.
He was hanging out with friends at his brother’s home at #103 Neal’s Pen Road, when a gunman fired several shots at him, hitting him in his lower back, chest, arms and legs. He died 40 minutes later in the hospital.
The prosecution’s case never advanced further than those preliminary remarks because when the prosecutor called her first witness, Aaron’s niece Shamika Brooks,, she declined to testify.
She recalled that she gave a statement to the police about her uncle’s death and in tears she told the court that she did not wish to give evidence at the trial.
She said she had not been threatened, but she was nonetheless in fear for her life.
The prosecution’s second witness, Aaron’s sister, Tanya Gentle, also became emotional, prompting Justice Lord call a five minute recess.
When hearings resumed, the only evidence Gentle was willing to provide to the court was that her brother was murdered on Neal’s Pen Road. She also confided that she was in fear for her life and did not want to testify.
After the two main witnesses had retired, prosecuting Crown Counsel Megan was left stranded – unable to a prove her case that the accused was responsible for Brooks’ death.
Grey’s defence attorney wasted no time in making a no-case submission, urging the court to find his client not guilty.
At 11:05 a.m. less than an hour after the trial had begun, Justice Lord was directing the jury.
Neil Grey has been in prison on remand since April 2009.