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After spending over a decade on remand, a police officer, accused of murdering a man from Laventille, is expected to learn his fate today.

High Court Judge Hayden St Clair-Douglas is expected to deliver his verdict in the judge-alone trial of PC Anthony Sylvester, who is accused of murdering Sheldon Des Vignes at his home at St Barb’s Road, Laventille, on November 9, 2007.

During his trial, State prosecutors alleged that Sylvester and a colleague were chasing a suspect, who was wearing camouflage clothing, through an alley next to Des Vignes’ home when Sylvester discharged his firearm.

Des Vignes, who was allegedly playing cards with relatives in a shed in his family’s property, was shot in his head.

Sylvester is being prosecuted under the legal principle of transferred malice, whereby a person is held responsible when their intention to harm one person inadvertently causes a second person to be hurt instead.

Sylvester testified in his defence in the trial and claimed he was acting in self-defence. Sylvester claimed that he and his colleagues were responding to a report of men armed with firearms and dressed in camouflage clothing liming in an area near Des Vignes’ home. He claimed that the men ran away upon seeing them and he and one of his colleagues chased one of the men through the track.

Sylvester claimed that he slipped and fell and when he got up, he saw Des Vignes pointing a gun at him from in his (Des Vignes’) yard. He claimed that he shouted at Des Vignes to drop the weapon and shot him twice when he refused to comply.

“My life was under immediate threat. I could not wait. My training is recognising a threat and stopping it,” Sylvester said.

While being cross-examined by prosecutor Indira Chinebas, Sylvester repeatedly denied assaulting Des Vignes’ neighbour before chasing him through the alley.

“If I slapped anyone, they would go down and won’t be able to recover. That is a fact,” Sylvester said.

He also denied that Des Vignes’ relatives were in his yard and witnessed the shooting, as they claimed in the trial.

“If there was someone else, I am quite sure they would have been hit with a bullet,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester’s colleagues, PCs Junior Nesbitt and Charles James, testified as defence witnesses. While neither admitted that they witnessed the shooting or saw Des Vignes pointing a gun at Sylvester, both corroborated aspects of his (Sylvester) story and claimed they heard him shouting at someone to drop a gun before hearing two gunshots.

“I heard PC Sylvester shout in a loud tone ‘put down the gun’ and then heard two loud explosions,” Nesbitt said.

The trial before St Clair-Douglas is Sylvester’s second, as his first ended in a hung jury, with jurors failing to come to a unanimous verdict.

Sylvester is being represented by Israel Khan, SC and Ulric Skerritt, while Ambay Ramkellawan is appearing alongside Chinebas for the Office of the director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).