A crime is typically deemed to be “solved” by the police when an arrest has been made and a suspect has been charged with the crime. This is often referred to as a ‘clearance by arrest’.  It can be argued a conviction is not necessary for a crime to be considered solved by the police. The police’s role is to investigate and identify suspects, while the judicial system is responsible for determining guilt or innocence.

But what of a crime where the suspect is found not guilty by a Jury?  More pertinently in Bermuda given recent events, what of a crime in respect of which the jury do not get to deliberate because the Judge intervenes and deems the police have provided insufficient evidence?  It appears reasonable to believe the crime should be considered ‘unsolved’, that if only from the perspective of the victim’s family, the matter is unresolved.

However, often the judicial system’s determination of guilt or innocence is separate from the police’s classification of a crime as solved. An acquittal reflects the court’s decision based on the evidence presented during the trial, but it does not affect the initial clearance of the crime. If new evidence emerges or if another suspect is identified, the police may reopen the investigation. However, this is usually a separate process, and the original clearance status typically remains on record.

While officially the crime may still be considered solved, public perception might differ, especially if the acquitted individual is believed to be innocent. In such cases, the community or the victim’s family might view the crime as unsolved until the actual perpetrator is convicted.

In summary, while a murder acquittal does not officially render the crime unsolved in police records, it often prompts continued investigation to seek justice and address public concerns.

01/2024Murder investigation was ‘woeful’ and following a trial in the Supreme Court, Raheem Wray was found not guilty of the murder of Osagi Bascome, a national level footballer, who was murdered in December 2021

05/2024Trio found not guilty of fatal stabbing in 2022. Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe instructed a Supreme Court jury to find Isaiah Smith, Omari Williams and Jaja DeSilva not guilty of the August 2022 murder, concluding there was no evidence on which the jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt the accused killed Marcus Wilson and that on the same day Mr Smith and Mr Williams had a bladed article on their person.

07/2024Charges dropped against Robin Hood murder accused. Acting Puisne Judge Mark Pettingill directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty because he deemed the case a “circumstantial” one, he concluded that there was no evidence “on which you can find beyond reasonable doubt” that the defendant was guilty.

  • the CCTV evidence was regarded as circumstantial, failed to prove “any evidence against the defendant”.
  • four pieces of gunshot residue evidence, were presented based on the argument that “the Robin Hood shooting was the only shooting to have occurred within the two days of the defendant being arrested”.
  • a single piece of gunshot residue was found on a pair of shoes at the defendant’s residence.
  • the Crown’s evidence on Mr Akinstall being part of a gang “amounts to hearsay” .
  • the gait evidence presented  could not support the identification of the defendant as the individual who committed the crime.

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