A police constable was on Thursday freed of fatally shooting one of two men who he said were trying to attack him with a machete in Pear Tree Bottom, Runaway Bay, St Ann 13 years ago.
Constable Ransford Wisdom was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter in relation to the death of Murphy Joe Charles, who was shot on the night of August 18, 2010, and succumbed to his injuries a day later.
The policeman was on trial for six weeks before High Court Judge, Justice Georgianna Fraser, in the St Ann Circuit Court.
In his defence, Wisdom said he did not know that anyone was shot when he discharged his licensed firearm.
It is alleged that on the night of August 18, 2010, Wisdom, who was on duty at the Runaway Bay Police Station, reportedly left the station without permission and went to purchase food.
He said he and a female companion were later seated in his car at the Pear Tree Bottom Fishing Village when he saw two men approaching the vehicle.
The lawman said he exited the vehicle and instructed the men not to move.
Wisdom said one of the men wielded a machete, and he (Wisdom) opened fire and the two men ran off.
The law enforcer said he did not report that he had discharged his weapon when he returned to the police station because he feared disciplinary action for having left the station without the necessary permission.
During the trial, it was revealed that Charles had alerted a woman about his injuries on the night of the incident.
When she enquired how he was shot and where it had occurred, Charles reportedly did not provide the information.
A call was later made to the Discovery Bay Police Station about the shooting, and Charles was assisted to a hospital, where he died the following day.
Police detectives made a breakthrough in the case when a bullet was removed from his body at the post-mortem.
This led the detectives to Wisdom, whose licensed firearm was seized.
Tests were conducted on the weapon that allegedly linked him to the fatal shooting of Charles.
Wisdom was charged with the murder in October 2010.
But the officer maintained that he did not know that anyone was shot on the night he discharged his weapon out of fear that his life was in danger.
The jury appeared to have sided with the lawman’s defence, and freed Wisdom of murder and the lesser offence of manslaughter after deliberating for approximately 30 minutes.