Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Jazz Freeman, 19, has been cleared by a nine member jury of charges that he burglarized the home of his friend's mother at Diamond Estate in March 2011.
Following a trial, the jury this afternoon, February 15, delivered a unanimous verdict.
Freeman was represented by Attorney at law Patrick Thompson and the case was prosecuted by Christlyn Benjamin and Sarah Benjamin. Justice Albert Redhead presided over the trial.
At the opening of the trial on Tuesday February 12, Senior Crown Counsel Christlyn Benjamin said on the night in question the daughter of Maritha Headley [owner of home] arrived at the Diamond Estate home accompanied by her father [Douglas Johnson].
Benjamin said the residence was in darkness at the time and the young lady [Khadijah Johnson] proceeded to a special area where the door key is usually stored. However, to her surprise it was not there. Further, the young lady then went to the door and discovered that it was opened.
Benjamin told the court that along with her father she turned on the lights in the home and checked the rooms in the house, but when she reached to her brother´s room she noticed a male person. Startled, the young lady screamed and ran.
Prosecutor Benjamin related that the young lady along with her dad observed the male person walked out the room, through the lit living room and went out the front door.
"They will tell you that they recognized the male as Jazz Freeman. Her brother Aaron [Headley] friend who would frequent the home," Benjamin said.
She said the father who is a teacher at the Elmore Stoutt High School also recognized Freeman who was a student at that school at that time.
Benjamin said the key miraculously reappeared. "Where did it appear from...How would he [Freeman] have known where they stored the key?"
She said Aaron Headley will testify that Freeman was his good friend and would usually be around when he removes the key from the safe area to open the door.
She related that after Freeman left on the night in question, jewelries belonging to another occupant of the home, Ashburn Dawson went missing. She said it is a matter for the jury to determine since no one saw him took the jewelries.
Meanwhile, Benjamin said though the matter was reported to the police, Dawson and one of his brothers decided to take matters into their own hands by approaching Freeman on the Monday evening and beat him. She said one of the young men dealt him blows with a bat where he suffered extensive injuries.
However, Benjamin was quick to caution jurors sitting on the trial that the two young men have since been through the system and were found guilty and sentenced for the offence.
She urged them not to have any sympathy for Freeman whereas they might feel that he has already paid for committing the burglary by receiving a beaten.
Benjamin told the jury that when someone enters one home as a trespasser its invasion of privacy and more so when a known person enters one home it's a breach of trust.
Alibi For Freeman
Meanwhile, Freeman's lawyer during his closing address yesterday February 14, pointed to several inconsistencies in the testimony provided by the crown´s witnesses, including Freeman's whereabouts at the time of the alleged burglary.
Thompson told the jury that Aaron Headley, a witness of the crown, gave Freeman a solid alibi.
The lawyer argued that Headley said that after 10:00 pm on March 18, 2011, Freeman was in Road Town in the vicinity of the softball field. Thompson highlighted the testimony that Freeman was at the softball field until he (Aaron) left to go home about midnight.
"Jazz Freeman can't be in two places at the same time. Aaron Headley says that he was sure that after 10 on the night of March 18th, 2011 Jazz Freeman was in Road Town, but it is the Crown´s case that the alleged burglary took place after 10:00 pm," he said.
Thompson asked how can the crown expect the jury to believe or accept what Douglas Johnson and his daughter Khadijah Johnson told them about seeing Freeman at Diamond Estate after 10:15 pm.
"Remember we didn´t call Aaron Headley as our witness. He is a witness for the Crown. He is there to support their case. But his evidence contradicts what the Crown´s main witnesses say about Jazz Freeman. That can´t be simply explained on the basis that they were mistaken about the time," Thompson argued.
The lawyer also pointed to several inconsistencies with regards to identification of Freeman being the person in the home.
Thompson said the crown don´t have one single shred of forensic, DNA or fingerprint evidence to link his client to the Diamond Estate house.
He said nobody has said anything about the jewellery that went missing.
"We don't even know when the apartment was burglarized so how can you be sure that Mr. Freeman was the one who burglarized it? All Ashburn Dawson could tell us is that he left his stuff there in the morning and when he got back in the night it wasn't there. We haven´t heard a stitch of evidence from Kenrick Headley, the other occupant of the room. How then can you be sure of Jazz Freeman´s guilt?" Thompson questioned.
In relation to Freeman having knowledge of where the keys were kept, Thompson said Maritha Headley agreed that it was not possible for anyone except the immediate family to know where the key was kept.
However, Aaron Headley listed six friends who would have known where the key was kept, since they would be with him at all times as they lived in the same area and frequents his home.