The five young men from St. Pauls who stood trial for the 2008 murder of Gregory Zakers were all found guilty on Friday (May 9) and are awaiting sentencing. The verdicts against Shenroy Francis (23), Glenroy Smithen (22), and Moses Gardener (27) were unanimous while those for Nelson Challenger (23) and Jomi Rawlins (24) were 11-1. Director of Public Prosecution Travers Sinanan rested the Crown’s case last Tuesday (May 6) after almost two months of trial. Defense attorneys Chesley Hamilton [for Gardener], Robelto Hector [for Challenger], Natasha Grey [for Smithen], John Cato [for Rawlins], and Fitzroy Eddy [for Francis], all made no case submissions but saw them rejected by trial judge Justice Darshan Ramdhani. After closing statements concluded Thursday, Justice Ramdhani used most of Friday’s session to sum up the case and instruct the 10-woman, 2-man jury. It took the jury less than 4 hours to convict; pausing only once to ask for clarification on the issue of ‘joint enterprise’. Several family members for the accused men along with Zakers’ mother Josephine Zakers were present for the verdict; their reactions to the guilty verdicts were polarized, as was to be expected. DPP Sinanan, who inherited the case when he took office in July of last year, told The Observer that the odds stacked against the Crown were almost insurmountable; however the Office of the DPP was undaunted. “In many ways the criminal justice system was on trial for the reasons that this was an offence that happened some six years ago, and there was avid interest to see how this case would pan out given the quality of the evidence against these young me,”he said. Although pieces of physical evidence were entered during the trial, there was no forensic evidence to bolster it. “As a result the prosecution’s case was tough, demanding and hard from the very outset. There was circumstantial evidence but direct killing of the killing was absent,”Sinanan said. “However at the end of the day justice was done on behalf of Gregory Zakers, and his family was very appreciative and relieved that this long, ongoing saga had finally come to an end.”This morning (May 12), the DPP made an application with regard sentencing. When asked if he would be seeking the death penalty, the DPP would only say “enough young lives have been lost already”. Justice Ramdhani is expected to deliver the sentencing in three weeks’ time. Attorney Hamilton, when questioned about the possibility of appeal, said his client had not given him any instructions to that effect as yet. That could change, he explained, subsequent to sentencing.