Man freed of killing father-in-law

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A man was freed on Tuesday of killing of his father-in-law.

Chris Jerod Jhardat spent nine in prison since his arrest. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal ruled that Jhardat did not receive a fair trial. The three judges set aside his prison sentence ordered no retrial and ordered his release from prison.

Jhardat who in 2013, was found guilty of a lesser offense of manslaughter on the basis of provocation, was ordered to serve a term of ten years imprisonment, for killing 67-year-old pensioner Joseph Ameerali on July 23, 2007.
Jhardat had gone to Ameerali’s home at Bramble Alex Trace, Cumuto to drop off money for his daughter but was refused entry by his father-in-law, who chased him away with a cutlass and while cursing, threatened to chop Jhardat.

Jhardat armed himself with a piece of wood and he and Ameerali exchanged blows. Jhardat received a chop wound to the shoulder while Ameerali suffered fatal head injuries.

At his trial, Jhardat’s estranged common-law wife Joan testified as a hostile witness and at his appeal, Jhardat’s attorney Sophia Chote SC argued that the trial judge failed to give the jury adequate directions on the issue of self-defence.

This, Chote submitted, led to a miscarriage of justice by depriving her client of a complete acquittal.

Chote’s submissions found favour with the Justices of Appeal, Alice Yorke-Soo-Hon, Rajendra Narine and Mark Mohammed, who held that while the judge’s legal directions on self-defence were technically correct, the jury was not adequately directed on the issue of retreat and did not marshal the evidence in the case and link it to the directions on self-defence.

In disposing of the appeal, the judges quashed Jhardat’s conviction and set aside the prison sentence and ordered no retrial as they found that the omissions in the directions on self-defence deprived the prisoner of the benefit of an outright acquittal.

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SOPHIA CHOTE SC

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