From the Courts
February 10, 2017
Jailed farmer cleared of shooting charge

Barry Antoine, a farmer from Buccament/Layou, no longer has to worry about accusations that he attempted to shoot Penniston resident Jack Barber.

Although Antoine is serving a five-year sentence after he was found guilty of having a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, along with two rounds of ammunition, on Tuesday at the Serious Offences Court, he was found not guilty of having a firearm with the intent to endanger or cause injury to Barber.

During the trial, Barber told the court the incident occurred on Wednesday, June 16, 2016, when Antoine approached him in Layou and asked for “the thing.”

Barber claimed he did not know what Antoine was speaking about, and alleged that the Buccament farmer pulled a brown firearm from his waist and fired a shot at him.

The Penniston man said he took up two bottles to throw at Antoine, but his girlfriend stopped him and urged him to make a report to the police.

Barber told the court that he was in fear and his body ran cold when the shot was fired.

PC 802 Peter Samuel, the officer who investigated the matter, told the court that he took reports from both Barber and his girlfriend.

Samuel said he did not obtain statements from other persons in the area, but recorded a statement from Barber’s girlfriend because it corroborated what her boyfriend said.

However, during cross-examination, Antoine’s lawyer, Grant Connell, pointed out that in her report, Barber’s girlfriend said the firearm was black.

Connell also noted that based on Barber’s evidence and the evidence of PC Samuel, no bullet hole or gun casing was found at the scene.

In closing, the lawyer pointed out that the evidence presented against his client was weak and the case was riddled with inconsistencies.

He went on to attack PC Samuel’s method of investigation and told the court that he did not exercise proper policing.

Connell then submitted that a prima facie case was not made out against his client.

However, prosecutor Elgin Richards did not share Connell’s view. He argued that Antoine had a charge to answer to, and although the witnesses said the gun was different colours, what was important is that there was a gun and it was fired. Richards said two witnesses put Antoine on the scene and the shot fired put Barber’s life in danger.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias agreed that Antoine had a case to answer.

She, however, added that the purpose of the trial was to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Antoine had committed the offence and there is a lot of doubt in the evidence presented.

The Chief Magistrate then found Antoine not guilty of the charge. In October last year, the Buccament farmer was sentenced to five years in prison for the firearm and six months for the ammunition charge. The sentences will continue to run concurrently. (AS)