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Murder accused freed after ten years in jail

Key witnesses disappear so...
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Andy Adams, who spent ten years in jail, leaves the San Fernando High Court on Monday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Moments after being freed of a murder charge for which he has spent the past ten years in jail, 38-year-old Andy Adams expressed concern about the escalating crime situation, sending a message to the young people that jail “not nice.” As he left the San Fernando High Court with his belongings on Monday, Adams said he learnt a lot from being in prison but felt that the judicial system was dragging and needed to “buck up.”

The State had no choice but to discontinue proceedings against Adams, who was charged with murdering Kernel Jobe, 21, in 2004, after it could not locate its main witnesses. In the circumstances, Justice Gillian Lucky directed the jury who was empanelled a week ago, but heard no evidence in the case, to find Adams not guilty. It was the second time the State was prosecuting Adams for Jobe’s murder.

At the first trial in 2009, a jury found Adams guilty and he was sentenced to hang. Jobe, 21, was shot dead at Paradise Trace, Calcutta No 3, Couva, on June 25, 2004. Adams, however, successfully challenged his conviction in the Court of Appeal in 2011 and his death sentence was quashed and a retrial ordered. Outside the court, Adams, who was in a hurry to leave because his girlfriend was waiting for him, said he felt good that it was over.

“I want to send a message to the authorities that they have to buck up with how they treating with matters.” Asked what he meant by that, Adams said the judiciary in particular was dragging its feet on court matters. His experience in prison, he said, had taught him a lot.  “You need to have a positive approach. You have to have a lot of patience and be tolerant in everything you do.”

Offering some words of advice to the Government on the crime situation, he said, “The country is going nowhere fast. The crime situation is escalating in an unprecedented way.” To young people who are involved in crime, he said, “Jail not nice, it hard. You need to understand that it is not nice. You need to take your time.” The father of five said he was anxious to see his children, but he did not know how he would maintain his family or himself. 

He suggested that the Government implement a programme to assist ex-convicts in getting a job and getting their life back in order when they got out of prison. “The jail is trying its best, but they need to buck up. What am I to do now?” “Through God’s mercy you will make it,” he said, answering his own query.

The State alleged that after Jobe was shot around 7 pm, he named his attacker, which was heard by Adam’s aunt Vernice Vincent and her son Nolan. She also testified that shortly afterwards, she saw Adams pull up in a car and come out holding a gun in his hand. 

The State also alleged that another woman, Kristy James, who lives abroad, saw Adams shoot Jobe twice. James gave evidence at the preliminary inquiry in the Couva Magistrates Court, but never testified in the High Court. At the first trial in 2009, the State was allowed to read James’ testimony from magistrates court to the jury.   

When the matter went to the appeal court, however, Adams through his attorney argued among other things that he suffered prejudice and bias during the trial because the trial judge admitted James’ deposition into evidence. In the second trial before Justice Lucky, the evidence was challenged and was not allowed into evidence.  


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