Thirty-year-old Wayne Gilbert, the man who was on trial for the 2017 murder of Rawle Rodrigues during a robbery at the Route 32 minibus park in Georgetown, has been freed of the crime due to lack of evidence.
Upon his arraignment last week before Demerara High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon, Gilbert c/d “Nervous” pleaded not guilty to a charge for the capital offence of murder.
The charge alleged that on January 20, 2017 at Croal Street, Georgetown, he murdered 43-year-old Rawle Rodrigues of Leopold Street, Georgetown, during the course/furtherance of a robbery.
A 12-member jury was empanelled to hear the case. However, on Monday, Justice Kissoon directed the jurors to return a formal verdict of not guilty after ruling that an oral confession given by Gilbert, which was the body and soul of the prosecution’s case, was inadmissible.
According to the Judge, the oral confession was inadmissible because it was not signed by Gilbert. Besides this statement, there was no other evidence linking him to the crime, Justice Kissoon noted.
The Judge pointed out that in this day and age of technology, Police need to start doing proper video recordings of confessions given by accused persons. In these circumstances, the High Court Judge told the jurors that there was insufficient evidence against Gilbert and therefore directed them to return a formal not guilty verdict.
As such, he discharged Gilbert and told him that he was free to go.
Gilbert was represented by Senior Counsel Stanley Moore while State Counsel Muntaz Ali and State Counsel Taneisha Saygon were the prosecutors.
Gilbert was committed to stand trial for the man’s murder in May 2019.
Rodrigues was in the vicinity of the bus park at around 21.30h on the day in question, when he had an altercation with three men who had reportedly trailed him from a bar where he had been imbibing. It was reported that the men attempted to rob Rodrigues of his valuables.
One of the men later stabbed him in the chest. Rodrigues was subsequently rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), where he succumbed to his injuries.
Last year, two men—Akeem Haymer called “Curry” and Affiba Yenkana, called “Dugla”, both in their early 20s—who were initially jointly charged with Rodrigues’s murder opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
They were each sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of being paroled after serving a minimum of 15 years by Justice Kissoon.