After spending three years on remand, a police officer, who was charged with murdering a construction worker while on duty in 2016, has walked free.
PC Peter Farnum was freed by Magistrate Joanne Connor after she upheld a no-case submission at the end of a preliminary inquiry on Thursday.
However, Farnum’s colleague and former co-accused PC Donald Snaggs was not as lucky, as Connor ruled that a prima facie case had been made out against him and she committed him to stand trial.
The duo, formerly assigned to the Southern Division Task Force (SDTF), was charged with murdering Adelle Gilbert on October 20, 2016.
Gilbert was near his home at Carlton Lane in San Fernando when he allegedly had an argument with a group of police officers. After a short chase, Gilbert was shot several times.
During the preliminary inquiry before Connor, prosecutors tendered the statements of over 50 witnesses, CCTV footage and ballistic reports from the Forensic Science Centre.
After prosecutors closed their case, the duo’s lawyers filed separate no-case submissions on their behalf.
Farnum’s lawyers, Keith and Keon Beckles, claimed that there was no evidence their client played a role in Gilbert’s death.
They alleged that a ballistic report, which traced a spent shell collected on the crime scene to a firearm assigned to Farnum, could not be linked to him, as it was found sometime after the incident and the firearm was also assigned to other officers in the unit.
Connor agreed that there was no evidence that Farnum discharged his weapon and ruled that joint enterprise did not arise in the case. She dismissed Snaggs’ application.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) noted that it had initiated an investigation following reports of Gilbert’s shooting and death. The PCA said there was continuous dialogue and co-operation with officers of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) before the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) gave instructions to charge the duo.
Snaggs was represented by Stephen Wilson and Keishel Grant.