A 58-year-old man from Enterprise, Chaguanas, has been acquitted of chopping his niece’s former boyfriend during an altercation over 15 years ago.
It took a nine-member jury a little over an hour on Thursday to return with a unanimous not guilty verdict in favour of Steve Rosal, who had repeatedly maintained that he acted in self-defence and was protecting his property.
According to the evidence presented by State prosecutors during the brief trial before Justice Carla Brown-Antoine in the Port-of-Spain High Court, on February 28, 2003, Rosal was at his home when his niece’s estranged boyfriend Jason Bharath came by.
Rosal reportedly told Bharath that he was no longer welcome at the family home and that he should leave. Bharath initially complied and went to a bar in the area.
Several hours later, Bharath returned with a male friend. He reportedly challenged Rosal and ran past him and into the house.
Rosal allegedly drew a cutlass and confronted Bharath. There was a struggle and Bharath attempted to run away. Still armed with the cutlass, Rosal allegedly ran after him and chopped him several times.
Rosal’s niece was called as a prosecution witness but had to be deemed a hostile witness as she changed her story and claimed that she never saw what transpired.
Rosal testified in his own defence and repeatedly denied that he was the aggressor in the incident.
He claimed that Bharath was intoxicated when he came to the house the second time and he again asked him to leave.
Rosal claimed that Bharath was the one who was armed with a cutlass and began planassing him. He testified that he managed to disarm Bharath and used the weapon to chop him several times in self-defence.
Rosal’s sister testified in her brother’s defence and corroborated his claims.
Rosal was represented by Karunna Bisramsingh, while Veona Neal-Munroe represented the State.