Tristan Gordon, 21, who has been charged with the murder of Kenyon Plunkett was acquitted on Tuesday, when Justice Adolph Lucas ruled that the prosecution had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Gordon is the third person to be tried by a judge sitting alone without a jury since the law was amended in mid 2011, allowing the Supreme Court to hear serious criminal cases without a jury.
On the morning of April 28, 2011, Kenyon Plunkett was shot in the head with a .40 calibre pistol, as he rode his bicycle on Lake View Street in the Lake Independence Area. He died shortly after, while undergoing treatment at the KHMH.
In handing down his decision, Justice Lucas remarked that when it comes to the guilt of an accused person, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.
During the one week trial, which ended on Tuesday, April 16, the prosecution called five witnesses. The main prosecution witness, Kyle Chaplin, however, had to be declared a hostile witness, after he took the witness stand and told the court that he cannot recall giving a statement to police.
Chaplin also told the court that the police beat him into signing the witness statement.
But following a submission by Crown Counsel Kaysha Grant, Kyle Chaplin’s statement was admitted as evidence in the case.
In his statement to police ten days after the murder, on May 8, 2011, Chaplin told police that Gordon had told him that he was “going after wan lee punk” who had disrespected him.
Chaplin told police that he told Gordon not to do it. And when Gordon asked him if he had his back, he replied “No.”
Chaplin explained to police that he saw Gordon take out a black gun, that he had showed him earlier. “He shot the dread-man in his head.”
According to Chaplin, when Gordon saw the dread-man coming on his bicycle, he ran up to him and shot him.
In his summary of the prosecution’s evidence, Justice Lucas observed that there was no prosecution evidence of how the “dread man was taken to the hospital.”
Neither did the police nor prosecution identify whose bicycle and slippers they had found at the crime scene.
“All we have is evidence of a person being shot,” Justice Lucas said.
“What makes the case for the prosecution more difficult is that this Kayle Chaplin turned hostile on the Crown which had summoned him as a witness.”
Justice Lucas added, “I deem Kyle Chaplin as a person who had an interest of his own to serve. I find Kyle Chaplin to be a dangerous witness.”
Justice Lucas, in dismissing the charge said: “The Crown has not proven the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused is discharged.”
Gordon was defended by attorney Lionel Welch.