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Jury acquits ex-female soldier of murder

first_img…State to appeal decisionOne day short of three years since Agricola, Greater Georgetown housewife Donna Taylor was murdered at her home, the accused, former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Private Abiola Jacobs was unanimously found not-guilty by a 12-member jury at the High Court in Georgetown on Monday.Murdered housewife Donna TaylorThis result came after just over two hours of deliberations, but it is expected that the prosecution will appeal the decision following reports that one of the jurors allegedly grew up in the same area as Jacobs.However, when the verdict was returned before Justice James Bovell-Drakes on Monday, the court upheld the jury’s unanimous decision and the Judge announced that Jacobs was free to go. After the words “not guilty” were announced, there were contrasting expressions from the relatives of Taylor and Jacobs who packed the courtroom to capacity. The Taylors were speechless with astonishment as they moved their heads from side to side in disbelief. Meanwhile, Jacobs’ relatives praised the heavens, saying that the verdict was a result of prayer and divine intervention.After being freed, Jacobs in high heels ran out of the court onto South Road before jumping for joy and embracing several relatives and well-wishers as she trotted and skipped along Croal Street. In much jubilance, she also hailed many passengers in passing minibuses who recognised that she was freed as the Taylors left the court despondent.On the night of January 31, 2014, Donna Taylor was discovered with her throat slit, hands bound behind her and her shirt wrapped around her neck. The jury considered the testimony of main witness Samantha Sabbatt, a Briton, who narrowly escaped with her life as she was a guest of the Taylors. She had admitted that she had an intimate relationship with her friend’s son, Bertram Taylor Jr, at the time she was staying there, but stressed that she never encouraged him to separate from Jacobs. Jacobs was the estranged girlfriend of Bertram Taylor Jr.Sabbatt had recounted that on the night Taylor’s motionless body was found, she was in the bedroom of the upper flat of the home when she heard footsteps, voices and a male later shouting for her to open the door, moments after the lights were switched off. She had also testified, via Skype from London, England, that she had climbed up and peeped through the lattice work and had seen Jacobs in the light of the street lamps that shone into the house. She had also claimed that when the lights came on, she jumped through the window onto the veranda and sustained injuries in a bid to save her life. On February 1, 2014, Sabbatt recalled attending a confrontation with Jacobs where she told her: “Sweet girl, you never saw me.”Abiola Jacobs became a free woman on MondayHowever, Sabbatt had issues with the consistency of her recall which was highlighted by the defence which had suggested that the main witness changed her story from the time when she was interviewed by Police and at preliminary proceedings at the Magistrates’ Court. At certain points, she was sure that she saw Jacobs and at other points she said she saw a shadow which she believed to be that of the defendant.The jury had also considered the testimony of Taylor’s daughter, Marcelle Collymore, who claimed that the accused and her mother had a fight on the day of her mother’s demise. This was also confirmed in the evidence of Police Superintendent Joel David who similarly testified that Jacobs informed him that she spoke with Taylor on the day of her death. Superintendent David had also corroborated that the survivor of the attack (Sabbatt) had placed Jacobs at the scene of the crime.Jacobs was represented by Defence Attorney Adrian Thompson while State Prosecutor Mandell Moore led the prosecution’s case with assistance from fellow State Counsel Lisa Cave.last_img read more

Mark Zuckerberg Says He Has No Plans to Resign as Facebook Chairman

first_imgMark Zuckerberg says he’s not going anywhere.In an interview with CNN that aired Tuesday evening, the embattled Facebook chief, when asked if he would step aside as chairman, replied, “That’s not the plan.”Critics of the social giant have stepped up calls for Zuckerberg to resign following an explosive report by the New York Times last week. The 5,300-word piece detailed Facebook’s response to scandals over misuse of its platform and data-privacy gaffes, including that it withheld knowledge of Russia’s weaponizing the platform to spread propaganda and that Facebook hired a D.C.-area political consulting firm to push negative coverage of competitors and critics.Of course, only Zuckerberg can fire Zuckerberg. The 34-year-old tech mogul controls approximately 60% of the voting shares in the social-media giant. Corporate-governance experts say Facebook’s structure giving full power to one individual, which is uncommon, disenfranchises investors and prevents accountability to senior management. In the CNN interview, Zuckerberg also voiced support for COO Sheryl Sandberg, who also has been implicated as a key figure in Facebook’s response (and lack of response) to the scandals. He made similar comments in a Nov. 15 call with reporters.“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts to address a lot of the biggest issues that we have,” Zuckerberg said in the interview. “She’s been an important partner for me for 10 years [and] I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”Zuckerberg denied that Facebook failed to disclose what it knew about Russia’s coordinated attack leading up to the 2016 U.S. election, which was one of the allegations in the NYT report. In the CNN interview, he said, “it is not clear to me at all that the [Times] report is right.” The New York Times has said it stands by its reporting.Separately Tuesday, Facebook’s longtime VP of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage, took the blame for hiring Definers Public Affairs, according to an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch. Among other activities, Definers launched a campaign linking anti-Facebook advocacy group Freedom From Facebook to liberal billionaire George Soros, a tactic often used by anti-Semitic groups.Both Zuckerberg and Sandberg have denied having any knowledge about Facebook’s hiring Definers before the Times’ publication of the report. Schrage’s taking the fall for the Definers controversy is convenient: He’s already announced that he will leave Facebook, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data-privacy scandal. The company has recruited former U.K. deputy prime minister Nick Clegg as Schrage’s replacement.“Responsibility for these decisions rests with leadership of the Communications team. That’s me. Mark and Sheryl relied on me to manage this without controversy,” Schrage wrote in the memo. “I knew and approved of the decision to hire Definers and similar firms… I’m sorry I let you all down.” In the memo, Schrage acknowledged that he directed third-party firms to instigate critical media coverage about critics and competitors — admitted that he told Definers to publicize Soros’ backing of the Freedom From Facebook coalition. But he insisted that he didn’t instruct Definers to publish false stories through affiliated news site NTK Network.“In January 2018, investor and philanthropist George Soros attacked Facebook in a speech at Davos, calling us a ‘menace to society,’” Schrage said in the memo. Definers researched the Freedom from Facebook coalition and “learned that George Soros was funding several of the coalition members. They prepared documents and distributed these to the press to show that this was not simply a spontaneous grassroots movement.”Sandberg commented on Schrage’s memo, per TechCrunch, saying in part that “it was never anyone’s intention to play into an anti-Semitic narrative against Mr. Soros or anyone else. Being Jewish is a core part of who I am and our company stands firmly against hate. The idea that our work has been interpreted as anti-Semitic is abhorrent to me — and deeply personal.”On Tuesday, Freedom From Facebook said it bought a week-long ad campaign on Facebook — targeted exclusively to Facebook employees — to encourage whistle-blowers to come forward and share info of the company’s cover-ups or misdeeds. (Facebook’s PR department didn’t respond to an inquiry about the ad.) Freedom From Facebook has set up a website (at this link) for employees to submit information confidentially, as well as an encrypted email address and secure document-sharing account.In a statement, Freedom From Facebook said it launched the campaign in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that Zuckerberg earlier this year told employees the company is “at war” — under attack from lawmakers, investors and users — and said Facebook would not hesitate to fire staff who speak to the media.Facebook’s nine-member board has voiced support for the two top execs. Members of the board include Zuckerberg and Sandberg themselves, as well as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and tech billionaire Peter Thiel. Popular on Variety center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 “As Mark and Sheryl made clear to Congress, the company was too slow to spot Russian interference, and too slow to take action,” Facebook’s board of directors said in the statement last week. “As a board we did indeed push them to move faster. But to suggest that they knew about Russian interference and either tried to ignore it or prevent investigations into what had happened is grossly unfair.”last_img read more