Recaptured prisoner is acquitted

Jurors yesterday acquitted Renardo Bastian of charges of armed robbery, rape, kidnapping, and receiving.

Bastian, 20, escaped from the Central Police Station on Tuesday, hours before Senior Justice Jon Isaacs was set to turn the case over to the nine-member jury.

Bastian is expected to appear before a magistrate on the escape charge today, according to police.

Despite his acquittal, Bastian remains in custody on armed robbery, rape, kidnapping and murder charges. His lawyer, Willie Moss, is expected to make a bail application on Bastian’s behalf soon. Bastian was on bail for the January 2008 murder of Kendrick Rolle when he was arrested in 2008 on armed robbery, rape and kidnapping charges.

Bastian’s co-accused, Ricardo Knowles, also had pending armed robbery, rape, kidnapping and murder charges. Police shot and killed Knowles, 22, during his capture. The armed robbery, rape and kidnaping charges were pending when Knowles was arrested for the August 2009 murder of Shawn Stubbs.

Justice Isaacs told the jury not to interpret the escape as a sign of guilt. He told them, “People escape for many reasons. Sometimes it has nothing to do with an acceptance of guilt, it has more to do with their treatment by their captors or the harsh conditions they are held.”

Isaacs told jurors to focus on the events of September 2008 that were the subject of the trial. He said, “What transpired in 2009 and 2010, that’s not your concern.”

Prosecutors allege that Bastian and others accosted a woman and her boyfriend as they went to their car on Elizabeth Avenue. Earlier, they had played pool at a club in the area. The armed men allegedly pushed the boyfriend in the trunk of his Nissan Maxima motor car and drove to City Market on Village Road, where they raped the girlfriend in the back of a trailer. The girl was also forced to perform a sex act on one of the assailants while he drove, according to the evidence. The culprits allegedly took the boyfriend from the trunk and tied him up before they drove out east. However, he managed to free himself and called police on his cell phone. Police later saw the Maxima, which crashed on Prince Charles Drive during a chase. Police arrested Bastian and Knowles.

Moss attacked the alleged rape victim’s identification of Bastian as one of her attackers at trial. She admitted that nowhere in her police statement did she say she was able to identify her assailants. She also admitted that the lighting was poor. Police did not hold an identification parade during their investigations.

Olivia Pratt-Nixon and Terry Archer prosecuted.

Leave a Reply