Acquitted man returns to jail over gun accusations

| 19/08/2011

(CNS): A 20-year-old West Bay man has been returned to jail less than a month after being acquitted of a murder charge. Jose Sanchez was placed on bail after being charged with a firearms offense just a few days after he walked free from the Grand Court. The West Bay man had been released, along with Robert Crawford and Deward Bush, on 25 July after the trial for the fatal shooting of Alrick Peddie last year. Charged with possession of an imitation firearm, Sanchez was released on bail on 2 August but following a breach of the conditions, Justice Alex Henderson denied his fresh bail application Friday and remanded him in custody until his trial. 

Sanchez had been in jail on remand since April 2010 after he was arrested in the Peddie case and sent to Northward with his co accused. However, last month, following a judge alone trial, the men were all found not guilty as Justice Harrison said he did not find the crown's key witness credible. Peddie, a.k.a. Bling, was gunned down in Michael Ebanks' family yard on Willie Farington Drive on the 24 March.

Ebanks was the crown's key witness and the main element of the case against Bush, Sanchez and Crawford, who were charged with the murder as a joint enterprise. In his ruling, the judge said the case had hung on the credibility of Ebanks' eyewitness account as the prosecution had very little forensic and circumstantial evidence.

As a result, Sanchez had walked away from the court a free man. However, only three days later he was reportedly involved in an altercation outside a nightclub in Hell, West Bay, involving a firearm. He was arrested the following day, Thursday 28 July, and remained in police custody for several days.

He was formally charged and appeared in court on 2 August, when the magistrate released him on bail to a relative in Savannah, away from the West Bay area, with a 6pm to 6am curfew. However, this week Sanchez broke the conditions and was rearrested on the West Bay Road at around 11:30pm, having broken his curfew.

Explaining to Justice Henderson how that had come about, defense attorney Nicola Moore, from Priestlys, said that Sanchez had gone to visit his mother in the late afternoon but she was unable to take him back to Savannah. Sanchez had then accepted a ride with a friend, who stopped off for food en route. In the process, counsel stated, Sanchez had lost track of time and ended up breaking his curfew and was later arrested near Aqua Beach.

Given the backlog of cases for trial, counsel suggested  that Sanchez could be tagged and released to the home of his mother, who, Williams said, had always tried to have a positive effect on her son.

However, the judge pointed out that when an accused breaches bail conditions they should be remanded in custody, and he order Sanchez to remain in Northward until his trial.

Justice Henderson urged the crown and the defense to find a timeslot for the trial at the earliest possible date, noting that the defense was not prevented from making another bail application if the circumstances changed.

Category: Crime

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