Saturday, November 18, 2006
THE GRAND MANAN ISLAND TRIAL - THE VERDICT IS IN!!! GUILTY!!!!!
Last Updated: Saturday, November 18, 2006 | 1:03 PM AT
A jury handed down guilty verdicts Saturday against four of five men charged in connection with a riot that included the burning of a house on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick.
The defence had argued the men were defending themselves and their community in July when they fired gunshots, beat a man they accused of drug dealing and set his home ablaze.
The house was burned to the ground. The house was burned to the ground.
Jurors had asked several questions about the issue of self-defence.
Two of the defendants facing the most serious charge of arson were taken into custody to await sentencing, while the other three were released.
The nine women and three men on the jury made up their minds shortly after continuing a second day of deliberations in St. Andrews.
They delivered the verdicts to an emotionally charged courtroom, where wives and girlfriends of the accused wept openly upon hearing the news. At one point, the judge warned people to remain calm.
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Firefighters had described in court how they arrived to a mob scene at the home of Ronald Ross and said some in the crowd stood in their way by forming a human chain around the burning building.
Prosecutors had told jurors that despite their opinions of the man whose home was destroyed on the night of July 21 and the early morning hours of July 22, islanders from the community of 2,600 had no right to bypass the criminal justice system.
Ross, who now lives in Digby, N.S., had testified that he wasn't running a crack cocaine house, as his attackers suggested.
He admitted to occasionally using the drug, but insisted he did not produce or sell the crack to others.