Linden Lestrade Not Guilty of Grievous Bodily Harm
The trial of Linden Lestrade of Canefield at the Roseau High Court ended this afternoon with a not guilty verdict.
Lestrade was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Greg Joseph of Roseau at Castle Comfort on Saturday October 3, 2009.
The trial went into day 11 yesterday which had spanned six weeks beginning on Monday March 10.
The order of business for the 11th day was addresses by counsel Sherma Dalrymple for the state and Zena Dyer for the defence and trial judge, her Ladyship Justice Birnie Stephenson.
The state concluded its case with investigating officer Corporal Chaucer James. He was preceded on the witness stand by crime scene photographer, Sergeant George Theophile, and Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon Dr Julian d'Armas.
And then it was the turn of the defence to put its case to the judge and jury on day 10, Wednesday April 16, and that Lestrade did in a 56-minute statement from the defendant's dock.
Lestrade said he had finished a jam or gig with his band Fanatiq at the Fort Young Hotel on the Friday evening October 2, 2009 at 11:00pm. As manager and sound engineer, the Computer Network System Engineer's responsibilities included packing and securing all equipment; functions he duly carried out.
There was an activity on in the vicinity of Digicel and Cocorico on the bay front, Linden and Fanatiq's bass player Dave Terrell decided to go to that social event. The event ended at midnight.
Linden and Dave were about to leave when they met a colleague, Elijah Jean Jacques, the son of Hurricane (the Hurricane), who lives in England. He was going back to England on the Monday.
"He asked me if I could take him to Krazy Kokonuts because he wanted to hear Triple K band play, because he had never heard them… I agreed," Lestrade said.
Lestrade, Dave Terrell, Elijah Jean Jacques, Hardley and Hardley's girlfriend Emra Nesty went to Krazy Kokonuts( KK). Lestrade parked on the Castle Comfort road between the McMillan Filling Station and Texaco Filling Station. Emra did not go because she was not feeling well. She stayed in the vehicle. Lestrade left the vehicle's keys with her and gave instructions on how to lock the vehicle if she had to leave, because he had some of Fanatiq's equipment in it.
The four men entered KK and Triple K band was playing.
"In entering Krazy Kokonuts we were not searched and allowed to enter," Lestrade said.
He added that went and stood near the mixing control. From time to time one or the other of Hardley, Dave and Elijah would come and check him to organise when to leave because he was the one driving.
Then Hardley came to him and said he was ready to leave. The four men started walking towards the exit of the dance floor. Lestrade saw two other friends and stopped to talk a bit while Dave, Hardley and Elijah kept walking. He saw a scuffle in the area where Dave, Hardley and Elijah were walking on the dance floor.
"I saw Hardley and Greg Joseph firing punches at each other. I immediately left Chester (Letang) and ran to the area where I saw the fight. Dave Terrell was holding on to Hardley and I held on to Greg Joseph telling him to finish with that… Greg cooled down but Hardley was getting on real violently," Lestrade said.
Lestrade told the court that while he was assisting in putting out Hardley from out of the dancing area, "I saw Greg coming back towards Hardley. I immediately turned and went back towards Greg and held him by his both hands telling him to finish with that… A police officer dressed in camouflage approached us and spoke to the both of us, and asked us what was going on. Greg gave no answer. I told the police officer everything is under control, everything is okay. Next to Greg, Jamilla Joseph was crying…
"Hardley was in the company of two police officers by then and behaving badly. Hardley was trying to free himself to get back in the direction of Greg. Next thing, Hardley punched a police officer and the officer immediately responded by punching Hardley in return. When I saw that happening I left Jamilla and went up to the police officers and asked them to give Hardley to me so he could talk to him. The police officer gave Hardley to Dave and myself".
Linden and Dave eventually exited Krazy Kokonuts with Hardley and started walking towards where Lestrade's vehicle was parked.
Suddenly Hardley burst their hold and started running towards the McMillan Filling Station parking lot.
"We saw Greg Joseph and Jamilla Joseph in the McMillan Filling Station parking area… Hardley met up with Jamilla and Greg… we saw Hardley and Greg started punching each other. Dave Terrell and myself ran towards where the punching was taking place… we separated the fight with Dave holding on to Hardley and I to Greg telling him to cool out. Hardley again broke from Dave and ran to Jamilla. He slapped her and punched her and she fell on the ground. Hardly then jumped on her and started choking her. I could hear Jamilla bawling. Dave immediately jumped on Hardley and was trying to pull Hardley away from Jamilla," Lestrade said.
"I was going to make an attempt to assist when Greg Joseph started putting blows on Dave's back. I then pulled Greg away and told him to stop it, finish with that, stop the fighting. I pulled Greg to the back wall of the McMillan Filling Station. While pulling Greg, Greg Joseph turned on me and lunged at me with a stone and a knife looking like a sword. I moved away from Greg and I drew my firearm to fire a warning shot to prevent Greg from attacking me, and also to stop Hardley from choking Jamilla. In moving away from Greg Joseph I stumbled on an uneven pavement – decorated tiles – to my right side with my right arm below my shoulder and my left arm up in the air, and in stumbling back the firearm went off. Because Greg Joseph was lunging at me he came in contact with the bullet. Greg Joseph fell to the ground… I did not shoot Greg Joseph intentionally…"
Corporal James was assigned to investigate the report of that shooting when it came in to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) about 3:45am on Saturday October 3, 2009. He first went to the Princess Margaret Hospital where he saw Greg Joseph. Several nurses and Dr Garvin Seaman were attending to the patient. Blood was coming from a wound to his head. He gave Dr Seaman a medical form. Dr Seaman returned the form with his report as well a white and blue shirt with what appeared to be bloodstains and a pair of white Nike sneakers with blue stripes and bloodstains on one sneaker.
The investigating officer then went to Castle Comfort. In the course of his investigations he would meet the accused making a report at the Roseau Station Charge Office that morning about 7:00am. From directions given him by the accused he would recover a short black pistol from Irvine Phillip in Roseau. Lestrade who was present said it was the gun. On examining the firearm, James removed the magazine and found that it contained 10 live rounds of ammunition. The police officer said the pistol serial number KGA806 was registered in the name of the accused at the time of the incident.
On Monday October 5, 2009, Corporal Chaucer James charged Linden Lestrade with shooting Greg Joseph with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.
This afternoon the case was in the hands of the jury of four men and five women to determine the fate of Linden Lestrade. They determined he was not guilty of the charge.