Monday, December 07, 2009

Charges dropped -- after 4 years in jail

He was acquitted of murder last month but was still held on gun charges. He was apparently a gang-banger in company with the shooters but did not fire any shots. The shooter has been convicted (See below). A disgracefully long time for the Canadians to bring anyone to trial, though: 4 years! It's a travesty of justice

A Toronto man who spent four years in custody awaiting trial for the Boxing Day shooting of Jane Creba was “disgusted but relieved” when the gun charges were withdrawn today in court.

Crown attorney Maurice Gillezeau withdrew eight gun-related charges against Andre Thompson, who wasn’t present at Old City Hall courtroom. “Having carefully reviewed the evidence in this case, the Crown has found there is no reasonable prospect of conviction,” said Gillezeau in explaining the decision to Justice Ronald Boivin of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Ten days ago, Thompson, now 26, his younger brother Shaun Thompson, Vincent Davis, 29, and Andrew Smith, 24, were acquitted of manslaughter charges arising from the Dec. 26, 2005 slaying of the 15-year-old Riverdale Collegiate student on Yonge St.

The four, who had pleaded not guilty, were acquitted by a judge after the Crown presented a new indictment a week ago Monday, severing their cases from those of three other accused, then declined to present evidence against them.

“He’s disgusted that it took four years for the justice system to clear him, but relieved he can continue with his life,” said Andre Thompson’s lawyer, Robert Chartier, in an interview afterwards.

Andre Thompson was collared alongside Jorrell Simpson-Rowe - who carried a 9 mm handgun - when both were arrested by Toronto Police at Castle Frank subway station 30 minutes after the shooting. That weapon - one of at least three used in the shootout - is the only firearm recovered by police. Another gun, a .357 Magnum fired the fatal bullet.

Simpson-Rowe, now 21, was sentenced to life imprisonment in May this year with no chance of parole until Boxing Day 2012. A jury convicted him last December of second-degree murder and aggravated assault for wounding two others.

Thompson remained in custody from that day until last Thursday when he was freed. The Crown consented to his release and reviewed the case for a week until today’s announcement that it wouldn’t prosecute the case, said Chartier. “He has been in custody for four years and wants to get back to being a productive member of society. He’s picking up the pieces of his life,” Chartier told reporters. “He along with the three others are considering civil actions, but we haven’t discussed any joint action,” said Chartier.

Original report here. Background here.

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