Lawyers representing three men of Enterprise, Chaguanas, accused of murdering a fellow resident in 2015, have scored a major legal victory in their bid for freedom.

Delivering an oral ruling during a virtual hearing yesterday, Senior Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan rejected an application from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to use the witness statement of its main witness, who has refused to testify due to fears over her safety.

While Rambachan acknowledged that Dave Junior “Abdul Malik” Nesbitt, Adrian “Cudjoe” Clarke and Malcolm Quintin’s attorneys would likely apply for the charge against them to be dismissed as the main witness’s testimony is the main evidence linking them to the crime, he noted that they would have to wait until the DPP’s Office appeals the decision or completes its case with additional evidence before they file no- case submissions.

Nesbitt, Clarke and Quintin are accused of murdering Amos Dick, who was shot and killed at the corner of Mano Street and Postman Drive in Enterprise, Chaguanas, on October 17, 2015.

Quintin was 17 years old when he was charged alongside Nesbitt and Clarke. In the application, prosecutors attempted to use statements given by fellow resident Crystal Lewis, who implicated the trio before migrating to the United States. In denying the application, under Section 15 of the Evidence Act, Rambachan raised multiple issues with the handling of the witness.

“There is an inescapable taint on this application that affects the believability of it,” Rambachan said. He noted that in assessing the application, the Justice of the Peace (JP), who certified Lewis’ main statement, admitted that she (Lewis) did not show him any identification documents first.

The JP also admitted that the signature placed by the woman, who was brought to him, differed from signatures on other documents attributed to Lewis.

“I was genuinely left with an indelible suspicion that it may not be Crystal Lewis…It could have been anyone,” Rambachan said.

Rambachan was initially scheduled to deliver his preliminary ruling last Friday, but it had to be postponed due to an issue at the Maximum Security Prison, which resulted in the men not being brought to the prison’s video conferencing facility for the hearing.

The trio was not brought at the start of yesterday’s hearing with Rambachan waiting almost half-an-hour and consulting with attorneys before proceeding to give his decision in their absence.

They were eventually brought to the facility and entered the hearing when Rambachan was halfway through his ruling. The trio is being represented by Jagdeo Singh, Criston J Williams and Richard Jaggasar while Raydon Dalyrmple-Watts is prosecuting.