Convict tried an unusual four times for killing son of former Commissioner of Police

The statement was made in reference to the recent case of Jahari Bart who was charged, tried and convicted for the 2011 shooting death of Jamie Williams, son of then Commissioner of Police Austin Williams.

What was different from most cases is that Bart was tried four times for the capital offense before the jury handed down its verdict earlier this month. His defense attorney, Chesley Hamilton, said that he has never heard of a case that went four times in this jurisdiction.

In the first trial, the prosecution was about to call its last witness when it was revealed that there was a gentleman on the jury whom, it was said, was related to the sister of the accused. However, that was not the case. It was discovered that the juror had a vendetta against Bart, as he was of the opinion that Bart might have had something to do with the death of one of his siblings. As a result, the case was aborted.

In October-November of last year, Bart underwent another trial. This time around, the jury could not decide on the guilt or innocence of Bart, and the outcome was a hung jury.

After being on remand for about five years, Bart’s case was tried for a third time in June of this year. The prosecution had already finished its case and had already addressed the jury. Just before the judge did her summation, information reaching the Court indicated that a brother of one of the accused had contacted a juror via Facebook and because of that; the case had to be aborted.

Earlier this month, Bart returned to court yet again for a fourth trial. This last trial, Hamilton said that [the Court] did what was almost unprecedented.

“It is not usual that the jury retries someone in the same jury pool and the same assize,” he said.

Could this form grounds for an appeal? Perhaps, said the attorney, pointing out that all circumstances will be taken into consideration for review on appeal including the fact that the case was tried in the same jury pool and assize.

The defense lawyer stated that they are not sure what the sentence will be, but he is certain that Bart will appeal.

Hamilton said, “A man’s life and liberty is at stake… I do believe that if I have to reach the Privy Council in order to prevent this, I believe that the Privy Council will say that justice was not served when the jury did not have the custody records before them in this fourth trial.”

The attorney said that Bart has good grounds upon which to appeal his conviction, and he believes that Bart will exhaust his opportunities no matter what.

Hamilton said, “There is more than doubt surrounding that statement (said to be made by Bart), and at the end of the day, I believe that justice will be done.” contacted the Office of the Acting Director of Public Prosecution for a statement, but was told that he has no comment to make on the matter. 

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