After spending almost 15 years on remand and facing two trials, two friends from Point Fortin have been freed of murdering a fellow resident in 2007.
Delivering verdicts at the end of their virtual judge-alone trial, yesterday, High Court Judge Gail Gonzales found Dirk Bruno and Sheldon Henry, of New Village, Point Fortin, not guilty of murdering Rasheed Goodridge.
According to the evidence presented in the case, on May 22, 2007, Goodridge, 21, and his 23-year-old friend Gabriel Charles, were standing near a bamboo patch at La Fortune Road in Point Fortin when they were allegedly approached by two men, who wanted to purchase marijuana.
After Goodridge left the location and returned the marijuana, the two men drew guns and shot him and Charles several times.
Goodridge, a student of the Servol Life Centre in La Romain, died on the scene, while Charles, who was shot in his head, survived.
After being discharged from hospital, Charles identified Bruno and Henry as their attackers.
Charles, of Warden Road, Point Fortin, initially moved to Port-of-Spain but returned to the community in July 2008 to testify in the duo’s preliminary inquiry.
On July 28, 2008, Charles was sitting under a tree near his home when he and his friend Rodney Persad were approached by a gunman, who shot them several times.
Charles died and Persad, who was shot in his back, survived.
Charles’ witness statement given to police was used as evidence in the inquiry and at the duo’s eventual trials.
In April 2015, the duo was freed as High Court Judge Hayden St Clair-Douglas upheld a no-case submission at the end of their first trial.
Justice St Clair-Douglas ruled that he came to the “inescapable conclusion” that Charles’ identification evidence was poor.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) successfully appealed the decision and the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.
In her ruling in the case, Justice Gonzales also stated that she did not believe Charles’ version of the events.
Bruno and Henry were represented by Larry Williams, Marissa Bubb, Peter Carter and Perusha Lord.