LOOP: History will be made on Monday as Antigua and Barbuda holds its first-ever judge-only murder trial, featuring Jeffrey Daniel as the accused in this landmark case.
Daniel is charged with the murder of 56-year-old David Roberts, an incident that transpired in 2021.
According to reports, the alleged altercation between Daniel and Roberts occurred on May 21 of that year. The two individuals were known to each other. Tragically, Roberts’s lifeless body was discovered near his residence, displaying visible injuries. A doctor pronounced Roberts dead at 9:05 am on that fateful day.
During the proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court, Daniel’s legal counsel, Wendel Robinson, asserted that his client also suffered injuries “about his body, including his chest, his forehead, his fingers, his back, etcetera,” during the alleged altercation. This detail could potentially form part of his defense strategy.
In May 2022, the resident of Cassada Gardens entered a plea of not guilty to the murder charge. Originally scheduled for trial later that year, the hearing will now commence on Monday under the jurisdiction of Justice Tunde Bakre.
The decision to hold a judge-only trial stems from the Criminal Proceedings (Trial by Judge Alone) Act, enacted in 2021 amid the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This legislation aimed to address the backlog of cases resulting from the inability to convene juries due to the pandemic. The Act was made permanent a few months ago.
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