miércoles, 30 de marzo de 2016

The Fourth Jury Trial in San Martín: “Guilty of Homicide”


The fourth jury trial was held in San Martin, Buenos Aires. The trial lasted three days in which the jury found the defendant guilty of the charge of homicide and not guilty of the charge of assault . Judge Elhart presided over the trial. The prosecution was handled by the prosecutor Noemí Carreira, a private prosecutor , and the defense was handled by a private attorney.


The theory of the prosecution’s case was as follows: on January 1, 2014, the defendant was driving his van in Villa Ballester (the scene of the crime). At approximately 8:30pm, a large stone collided with his van, according to testimony, it was thrown by the victim. At that time, the accused took chase of the alleged aggressor (who was driving a motorcycle), driving the wrong way up two one-way streets ramming into the bike on Republica street. The impact killed the motorcyclist. Then the defendant also hit another vehicle, driven by a police officer who suffered minor injuries. After that, he left his truck two blocks from the scene and he turned himself in at the police station the day after the incident.

Both prosecutors sought the conviction of the accused on two counts: willful homicide of the motorcyclist and minor injuries to the police officer
The defense attorney argued to the jury that his client did not intend to kill and that death was the result of his imprudence (manslaughter). He asked for acquittal for injuries to the police officer. 

Judge Elhart correctly instructed the jury on these four options: intentional homicide, manslaughter, assault and not guilty. He gave the jury two verdict forms, one for each count (the motorcyclist’s death on the one hand, and injuries to the police officer, on the other). 

Late afternoon on Friday March 11, after a long deliberation, the jury rendered two verdicts: it found the defendant GUILTY of the crime of HOMICIDE of the motorcyclist and NOT GUILTY of the crime of assualt of the police officer. 

During these three exemplar days of trial, the attendance, the summons, the seriousness and the interest of the acting jury, as well as the professionalism of the judge and the litigants should all be commended.