After a trial lasting more than five weeks, it took a jury of six men and five women just under four hours to find 26-year-old Taaj Muhammed guilty of murdering 30-year-old Ronniko Burchall outside of St. David’s Cricket Club on December 29, 2018.
The jury also found Mr. Muhammed guilty of using a firearm to commit the murder. Family and loved ones of Mr. Burchall cried tears of joy in the courtroom when the verdict was read out.
BPS Detective-Sergeant Jason Smith was also in court when the verdict was read out and called the verdict just, but highlighted that there are no winners in the case.
“ A young man has lost his life through death and another young man has to spend some years behind bars,” he said. “ The jury has spoken, the verdict is just and I think that it shows members of the public that when they work with police, we can get these results.”
According to him, the BPS has more investigations coming where they also require the public’s help and support.
“ There were several people who were at the St. David’s Cricket club on the night of the murder, but very few came to assist,” he said. “ It took quite a while for the case to come to trial because we didn’t have much public support from the beginning, but there were some witnesses who were brave enough to come forward and bring Mr. Muhammed to justice.”
Detective-Sergeant Smith admits that intimidation within the community might be preventing people from speaking with the police. He assures the public, however, that certain things and personnel are in place at BPS which can assist and protect those who choose to come forward. The first step, however, is to come and talk to them.
“ The witnesses who came forward are what tipped the iceberg for us in this case,” he said. “ I Really hope today will be the beginning of many cases which we can bring to the courts so that we can bring justice and closure to grieving families.”
Mr. Muhammed is scheduled to be sentenced in April.
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