Jury finds Bev not guilty

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By Shanique Richards

St. Kitts Reporter

One of the traversed cases was reintroduced on Monday. The case between Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and Clarissa Gumbs, which ended in a hung jury for the last assizes, faced a long deliberation on Thursday after the jury heard the facts. After about five hours the jury delivered a verdict of “Not Guilty”. However, the jury was not unanimous, as they were divided eleven to one.

The particulars of the case stated that Clarissa “Bev” Gumbs, on the 7 February 2005, stole US$3000 from the dwelling home of Selvyn “Judge” Pringle of Dieppe Bay. Gumbs pleaded not guilty.

The DPP called as its first witness Selvyn “Judge” Pringle, a craft vendor living in Dieppe Bay with his girlfriend Jeanette Mitchell.  On the night in question Pringle claims to have been sleeping when his girlfriend woke him up and said that someone broke into the house and stole his pants with his money.

“It was about 6:00pm and I went to Kernel shop. I bought a round of drinks for myself and four young men including the accused Clarissa Gumbs. When I was about to pay. I took out my money and in one pocket there was US$3000 and some EC rapped in a rubber band and I put that back then took out my wallet from the other pocket and paid. I then went home to my two-room dwelling home and fell asleep on the bedroom floor. My fiance woke me up around 3:00am and I realized that my pants were gone. I then got up and saw the accused from behind running away with my pants. I called out to him and said “Bev! Drop me pants!” Pringle said.

Pringle then pinpointed the accused to be the man he saw running away and stated that on the night in question the accused was wearing a long black pant, a black t-shirt and a black head tie.

The second witness, Jeanette Mitchelle, took the stand and told her version of the story.

“I came home that evening and I cooked some rice for me and the monkey and we then removed Judge’s pant and went to sleep next to him on the floor. I then woke up and saw “Bev” with Judge’s pant in his hand walking over me. I saw him look back when he got close the door and I said, “Hey” but he walked out as if he lived there. I then looked outside and saw someone else next to him but I could not make out who it was. “Bev” was wearing a short black pants, a black shirt and a black hat.

The third witness called was the police constable who investigated the matter. She gave testimony that she did not find the accused around the area when the report was made and also after issuing a search warrant, nothing was found in the home of the accused.

The defendant, Clarissa Gumbs, who represented himself, took full advantage of cross examining the witnesses.

“Mr. Pringle, you stated that I was wearing a black long pant but your girlfriend stated that it was a short pant, can you tell me where the rest of the pant went? Also can you explain how is it you said you saw me wearing a head tie but your girlfriend saw me wearing a hat, did that too magically disappear too? And another thing, how can you tell its me by looking at my back?” said Gumbs.

Pringle continued stating that he was sure it was the accused who he saw but had no explanation for the contradiction in the type of clothing he was wearing.

Gumbs also outline that in the P.I, Pringle stated that he bought a Carib beer for him but when he was told that the accused does not drink beers he then stated that it was a Guiness instead. The accused also denies being present while Pringle was purchasing these drinks. Gumbs also portrayed Pringle as an alchoholic by stating that since he have known him for a while and he  has gotten drunk often until he starts getting fitz. This mad Pringle angry.

“A going get in trouble for da bwoy you no, a going get a jail, you never see me get no fitz yet, a wa da bwoy dere a say boy?” said Pringle.

The judge then asked for order in his court.

Gumbs proceeded by saying that it’s a possibility that Pringle’s girlfriend removed his pant while he lied there drunk and stole the money. Gumbs also implied that Pringle’s girlfriend did not see his face but was coached to say there these lies to assist her boyfriend.

Gumbs then called his child’s mother, Teslyn Francis, as his only witness who stated that Gumbs was with her on the day that was in question.

The jury came to a decision and a not guilty verdict was reached. After the trial, Pringle gave his last words, “I think the jury delivered a verdict that was truly unfair because this bwoy was spending up all me money,” said Pringle.

The accused left the courtroom stating that he wishes everyone a great day and he thanked the jury for a fair trial.

The mother of the accused, Helen Gumbs, who heard the verdict through whispers, stood outside the courthouse with an outburst.

“Thank you Jesus, They must stop drink rum and learn to see! God don’t sleep and I never stopped praying,” she said.

Although the judge told Gumbs that he was free to go, he remained in police custody as he is now serving one month in prison for child support payment.

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