There were shouts of jubilation outside the High Court building on
Wednesday afternoon, June 21, as the four law-enforcement officers
accused of murdering Bruce “Jungle” Greenaway walked free of the
Armal Warner, Aliyah Martin and Shakiel Thomas – Antigua and
Barbuda Defence Force soldiers – and police officer Jason Modeste
had been arrested and charged jointly for the capital offence.
On Tuesday, June 20, the prosecution closed its case after having
called a slew of witnesses, including lead investigator Officer
Theodore Horne, who had been the last to testify.
However, before putting their clients on the stand, the defence
attorneys requested permission of the judge to make no-case
submissions in the absence of the jury.
Their submissions were based on the principle/settled case of
joint unlawful enterprise, to which the presiding judge made
reference in arriving at his decision.
Greenaway allegedly had been picked up by a soldier who was
working with the Joint Task Force during the COVID-19 period.
However, despite this, all of the lawyers contended that no one
could point a finger, with certainty, at any of the defendants and say
they had committed the act of murder.
The lawyers also claimed the deceased had been in the custody of
the law-enforcement officers only for a short while, and had been
released before his decomposing body was found days later.
The judge agreed with the submissions that Greenaway’s time of
death could not be verified.
Additionally, in spite of the pathologist having testified that
Greenaway had died as a result of strangulation, the defense
contended that the person who committed the act had not been
confirmed; neither was the place, nor the manner in which the
offence had been committed.
After rendering a lengthy decision, the trial judge invited the jury
back into the courtroom and instructed them to return a formal
verdict of not guilty.
This sent family members of the accused into shouts of praises and
relief, as well as tears, as they hugged each other.
Wednesday’s decision comes a little over three months after the
high-profile murder trial commenced on March 20.
At the time of their arrest, Warner and Martin, the lone female, were
just 20 years old, while their counterpart Thomas was 25 and officer
Greenaway was last seen alive on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in the
custody of all four after he allegedly broke curfew. His body was
discovered on Easter Monday, April 13, 2020, floating at the
shoreline of Indian Creek.