Rape-slay suspects freed-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, January 28, 2013
THE suspects in a controversial rape with homicide case were acquitted on Friday afternoon by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 4 Judge Mia Joy Cawed.
Acquitted were Carl Allan Kier and a minor, (name withheld), who were both tagged by police as the primary suspects in the abduction, rape and eventual death of as nursing student, whose body was dumped in Balacbac on October 19, 2008.
“The circumstances established by the prosecution through the testimonies of witnesses fail to point to the two as the culprits to the exclusion of all the others. Doubts hound the court in the identification of the two as those who sexually violated the victim and killed her,” Cawed said in her 54-page decision on Friday.
Cawed said the evidence presented by the prosecution in tagging the two persons were too general, adding “had the police officers and the prosecution exerted more effort … a more direct link between the crime and the perpetrator could have been established, and reasonable doubts on the identity of the perpetrator could have been eased.”
Cawed said that while the defense of the two accused was weak considering it was only a mere denial, she said this cannot justify their conviction, thereby ordering for the immediate release of Kier, while his co-accused, a minor will be given after-care measures.
University of Baguio College of Law Dean Abelardo Estrada, legal counsel of Kier, said that from the very beginning of the case, he knew the suspects were innocent.
The lawyer said there was also injustice on the part of the victim, claiming the persons involved in the crime are still at large and roaming around free.
He said Kier’s freedom was forfeited for four years for a crime they did not commit.
Lawyer Jose Olarte Jr. said his client, a minor, experienced trauma after being accused of the crime he did not commit, prompting his family to consider counseling.
The minor, however, was not present during the reading of the court decision. According to his mother, he is currently in Manila undergoing treatment.
The judgment of acquittal may no longer be appealed before the higher court as it constitutes double jeopardy. However, the victim’s family may opt for a reinvestigation and reopening of the case to pinpoint the real perpetrators of the heinous crime who are probably still at large.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 29, 2013.