The man who police implicated in the harrowing attempted murder of Kani Hazel back in 2015 has been acquitted.
Trent Harrigan was freed on Monday after Justice Ann-Marie Smith withdrew the case from the jury and entered a verdict of not guilty.
The judge withdrew the case from the jury after defence attorneys Valerie Stephens Gordon and Stacy Abel successfully made a legal argument known as a ‘no case submission’. This argument effectively stated that there was no real evidence against their client.
During the trial, the Crown relied on evidence from police officers who claimed they used CCTV footage to positively identify Harrigan as the gunman who shot Hazel four times — twice in the head and another two times in the torso.
However, the footage was of such poor quality that only a silhouette of the shooter could be seen. Despite this fact, police officers testified that they identified Harrigan by his ‘walk’.
Notably, the cops who testified gave vastly contrasting accounts of what they believed to be Harrigan’s general deportment. His attorneys, therefore, moved for him (Harrigan) to be acquitted, given the conjectural evidence the Crown had presented to the court.
The court agreed and Harrigan was freed.
What the Crown had alleged
Prosecutors had alleged around 4:27 on the morning of June 7, 2015, police received reports of gunshots being fired in the vicinity of UP’s Cineplex, where Hazel was seen lying on the ground with blood ‘oozing’ from his head and upper torso.
An ambulance arrived at the scene around 4:55am, and Hazel was transported to Peebles Hospital.
CCTV footage from the area was later retrieved and reportedly showed the victim leaving The Basement Night Club in Road Town in the company of two other males when a man appeared and shot him at close range.
That’s when the prosecution first claimed that the shooter was identified as Trent Harrigan.
Based on the alleged evidence, police executed a search warrant at Harrigan’s home and arrested him.
During a subsequent interview with the cops, he reportedly denied involvement in the shooting, adding that he was at home ‘all night’.
When footage of the shooting was shown to Harrigan, he told police that he could not identify anyone in the video.
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