Assistant teacher freed in double murder trial

Assistant teacher freed in double murder trial

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Former assistant teacher Sanja Ducally, murder-accused in the 2011 massacre of 18 year old Joeith Lynch and her mother Charmaine Rattray in Lauriston St Catherine is a free man.

Ducally, who was taken into custody about a month after the incident, has been on trial since last week.

This morning Supreme Court Judge Justice Vivene Harris instructed the seven member jury to return a verdict of "not guilty" on both counts of murder in respect of Ducally. This follows on a no case submission on behalf of Ducally by his attorney Anthony Williams on Monday moments after the prosecution led by Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn made its closing arguments in the matter.

Williams contended that the prosecution had failed to produce evidence to show "that there was a plan, aiding and abetting and participation" on the part of Ducally in relation to the crime.

The prosecution for its part had maintained that there is more than adequate factual basis in respect of evidence which would obligate the court to call upon Mr Ducally to present his defence arguing that there is no need for the Court to withdraw the case.

This morning Justice Harris in handing down the judgement said in examining the arguments of the relating to Ducally's participation in the incident, there was "no evidence presented by the prosecution that Mr Ducally knew a murder was taking place in that house prior and that there is no evidence he was a part of the plan (to murder the women) before he went into the house".

"It is my view having considered the authorities in the area and the evidence of the prosecutionthat there is absolutely no evidence that he planned with the individuals to commit the murders..." Justice Harris said.

This morning, Ducally standing at the behest of the judge in the docks replied "thank you your honour" a slight smile playing around his lips when told by the judge of her decision.

"You are acquitted on both counts of the indictment and discharged and free to go,"Justice Harris told Ducally following the utterances by the foreman of the jury. "Thank you your honour ", the now broadly smiling Ducally said leaving the dock — where his cousin Kemar Riley sat — without a backward look or a word.

Rattray and her daughter were on the night of July 19 fatally hacked to death, shot, then beheaded by a group of about eight men, five of whom were later arrested and charged in relation to the brutal murders. Three of the men, Adrian Campbell, Roshane Goldson, and Fabian Smith, have since pleaded guilty to non-capital murder and are to be sentenced while two, Ducally and Riley, pleaded not guilty to murder and were standing trial.

Ducally, in a caution statement played into the records of the court last week, claimed he was returning “from a function” in the dead of night, heard Lynch screaming for help and went to investigate. In the video-taped account which was shown to the court, he said upon going into the house and entering Lynch's room he saw two men one of whom (Roshane Goldson who has pleaded guilty and was charged with non-capital murder) “busy chopping Cristal".

“I said what going on? he couldn't answer because he was busy chopping Cristal so I was standing next to him and while he was chopping he swung the cutlass and it chop me on my hand, same time I ran outside….and I jump over the back fence and run around the lane and up on Rio Cobre Drive,” Ducally stated. He said it was while running away from the scene that he heard five to six shots fired.

Alicia Dunkley-Willis

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