Man acquitted on four counts, including attempted murder
Caldwell Browne
From the Courts, News
February 20, 2024
Man acquitted on four counts, including attempted murder

A fisherman who was charged for attempted murder, wounding with intent, unlawful use of firearm, and use of firearm for commission of an offence has been acquitted of all charges.

Caldwell Browne was charged that on November 5, 2022, in Union Island he attempted to murder Anthony Franklyn by shooting him to the right side of his back. Browne was also charged with wounding with intent, unlawful use of firearm, and use of firearm for commission of an offence.

However, after two hours and 13 minutes of deliberation, a nine-member mixed jury rejected the prosecution’s case which was led by Crown Counsels Maria Jackson-Richards and Tamika McKenzie, and found Browne not guilty on all counts.

The shooting incident occurred after an altercation between Franklyn and Browne where both parties suffered injuries to their bodies. During the altercation, Franklyn was said to have broken the windscreen of Browne’s vehicle, and Browne began chasing him.

Justice Richard Floyd said in his summation of the case, that a police officer testified to seeing Browne, armed with a cutlass while standing over Franklyn, who was “down on the ground.”

The prosecution’s argument was that Browne then used a gun and shot Franklyn to the right side of his back. Browne was said to have squeezed the trigger twice, but there was no ammunition left in the gun. Browne was said to have told Franklyn that he “is lucky the trigger was empty” after which, he discarded the gun in the sea.

However, Browne’s lawyer, Grant Connell argued that Franklyn was the aggressor, and that there is insufficient evidence in the prosecution’s case to convict Browne of the charges. One of the points that he raised was that the integrity of the exhibits was compromised.

“One officer said he picked up eight shells, and the other officer said he picked up 11, and neither of them took pictures of where each shell was picked up from, was recovered from, so we are not sure where these came from,” Grant later told SEARCHLIGHT after the trial.

In addition, there is no nexus between the .22 shells found at the crime scene, and the projectile in Franklyn’s body, as the doctor never removed it, therefore the calibre remains unknown. As well, the doctor who tended to Franklyn’s gunshot wound never gave any evidence that the wound was life threatening, hence the reason for not removing the projectile.

Connell said that the prosecution also created more doubt and confusion in their closing remarks, as they stated that there were 12 bullets.

“Twelve? I then told the jury there were 11 shells, so maybe that 12th one the prosecution is talking about is the one that is in his body. That’s something totally different again,” he continued.

sThe crux of Connel’s case was that there was a lack of proper search by the police, and no CCTV footage was obtained because the owners of the cameras were not cooperative with the police.

However, some of the officers who were involved in the case claimed to have not known that according to Section 41 in the Criminal Procedural Code “When a judicial officer is satisfied by evidence on oath that there is reasonable cause to believe that any property whatsoever with or with respect to which an offence has been committed is in any place, such officer may grant a warrant (hereinafter referred to as a “search warrant”) directed to a police officer or other person to enter and search any place in any part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, by force if necessary, at any time of day or night. If such property or any part thereof be found, such officer shall seize it and bring it before a magistrate’s court to be dealt with according to law.”

Connell had also argued that there was a lack of forensic review, and that because the Criminals Records Office(CRO) section was not called in, no official photographs and evidence were recorded. Police statements were also incomplete, and evidence such as the gold chain was lost by the officers involved.

However, Connell said that when Browne reported to the police what Floyd did to him the Director of Public Prosecution’s Office instructed them not to proceed with the matter.

“The accused never got his justice,” he commented.

“…as a little old man told me once, sometimes that’s the problem in our system, police act on instructions and not evidence, so justice goes begging…”.