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Trial delayed for men accused of murdering businessman Roderick 'Bunny' Francis

The trial of four men accused of the 2011 murder of St. Andrew businessman Roderick Bunny Francis was delayed Tuesday morning after three of the accused fired their attorneys.
 
The matter is now set for mention on February 22.
 
The accused fired the attorneys before trial judge Glen Brown following a breakdown in talks between the defence and prosecutors over whether the matter should be tried by a judge instead of a judge and jury.
 
Defence attorneys on Monday applied for a judge to hear the case under the Jury Act.
 
The attorneys argued that the trial was complex and a jury would struggle to grasp the matters that would arise at the trial.
 
However, the Director of Public Prosecutions disagreed and ordered that the matter be heard by a judge and jury.
 
Arising from this development, three of the four accused fired their attorneys on the spot, causing a further delay of the trial.
 
The four men - Carlos Batista, George Gardner, Newton Welsh and Sheldon Watson - were charged following investigation into the murder of Mr. Francis.
 
Forty witnesses are scheduled to testify.
 
Mr. Francis, who was a well known conch exporter, was fatally shot by gunmen on Queensway in St. Andrew.
 
Investigators say it was a contract killing.
 


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