[COURTHOUSE]:::Judge to determine if 'prima facie' case exists in murder case

No. 68 Friday, March 19, 2010
A St. James Resident Magistrate is to tell the court on March 30 whether or not a 'prima facie' case was established following a preliminary hearing in the murder case against John Whittaker accused of killing his uncle.

    The preliminary hearing is not a trial. It is a hearing in court at which witnesses testify and the judge decides if there is enough evidence to require the defendant to stand trial.
    A prima facie case is made out when the prosecution (which bears the evidential burden of proof) in a criminal case concludes its submission and the evidence presented is sufficient for a conviction.
    John, who resides at Somerton in the parish, is charged with the murder of Tabar Whittaker, also of Somerton, and for un­lawfully wounding one of Tabar's sons.
    He had is bail extended when he appeared before the Montego Bay RM Court on Wednesday, March 17.
    The prosecution is alleging that on July 24, 2009 about mid-day, a dispute developed between John and one of Tabar's sons, who is the accused man's cousin.
    In the interim, the accused man allegedly hit the
cousin with a machete. The cousin left the scene and made a complaint to Tabar and his other son.
    The deceased and his two sons returned to where John was and confronted him and John used the machete to chop Tabar and his other son.
    The two wounded men were taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital where Tabar died and the son admitted.
    Following investigations, John was arrested and charged.

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