The premises of Criminal Court ‘A’ last Friday were a scene of shock and disbelief for the family members of Zardee Andrews, who was allegedly shot in the neck by Michael Samukai – son of Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, after the 12-member jury set the defendant free.
Some of the family members were heard screaming at the jury for their decision, accusing them of having “received money from the minister’s son to come down with the not guilty verdict.”
A female family member of the victim angrily said,” I am disappointed about the justice system in our country. Where are we going? If we cannot get justice in our own country, where will we get it from?”
When the Daily Observer contacted Zardee via mobile phone on Saturday, the victim said he was thankful to God to still be alive.
“This country is very much interesting because for a person to be shot by the son of a Defense Minister and the 12-member jury panel concluded that he had done nothing wrong,” said a frustrated Zardee, “is a dangerous precedent.”
“Where is the justice system? Because this guy shot me in the midst of people and the jury sat there saying he did absolutely nothing and set him free?” he asked, still in shock regarding the verdict.
He did not opine about whether the jury’s decision was influenced by money.
“It was surprising to me because none of the jurors could say he did it; but, thank God that I am still alive and trying to put my life back together,” Zardee said.
“Everybody that took part in this decision will get their pay for what happened to me.”
Before the jury’s decision, Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, one of Samukai’s lawyers, told members of the Andrews family that they should be “thankful that he did not die from the shooting.”
The remark by Cllr. Bull (who has a reputation for her outspokenness against injustices) came during the final arguments, which preceded the jury’s verdict.
Although Samukai had earlier admitted that the shooting happened while he and the victim were tussling over the gun, the jury returned with a unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdict after hours of closed-door deliberations on the evidence produced by both the defense and prosecution.
Samukai was charged with multiple crimes, including attempted murder, after he allegedly shot his victim in the neck at the Tropicana Beach located in Thinkers Village, along the Robertsfield highway.
The incident occurred in September 2016 when Charlotte Samukai, Michael’s wife, was celebrating her birthday and invited Andrews and others to her birthday party on the beach.
When Michael arrived at the party he allegedly met Andrews and others sitting with Charlotte; a quarrel later ensued as to who invited who to the party, which led to the shooting of Andrews in the neck with a .45 pistol.