Anglin acquitted of murder

| 31/08/2011

(CNS): Devon Anglin was found not guilty of the murder of four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes, Wednesday afternoon, when Justice Howard Cooke said there was "disturbing, unexplained inconsistencies" in the evidence of Andy Barnes, the crown's key witness and the child's father. Jeremiah was shot and killed at the Hell Gas Station, West Bay, while sitting in the Barnes family car in February last year by a masked gunman, whom his parents had both identified as Anglin. However, following a judge alone trial Justice Howard Cooke acquitted the defendant as he said Barnes' visual evidence and that of Dorlisa Ebanks, Jeremiah’s mother, was of no “probative value.”

The judge said that, as had been agreed by both counsel in the case, if the visual identification was found by the court to be of “no value” the judge had no need to consider the supporting evidence in the case as nothing could support “worthless”, which was how he described the evidence of Barnes, whom he said was predisposed to believing Anglin was the killer and fixated by his belief that the defendant was out to do him harm.

Justice Cooke said he put “absolutely noweight” on the evidence given by Dorlisa Ebanks as her evidence directly contradicted that given by Carlos Ebanks, the gas station attendant, who had said the gunman was wearing a full mask.

Despite the fact that the gas station attendant had stated that the gunman was wearing a Halloween mask, an issue contradicted by the CCTV evidence, which showed the gunman wearing a bandana or handkerchief over part of his face, the judge said he believed Carlos Ebanks to be a witness of truth.

Justice Cooke also found Anglin not guilty of the attempted murder of Andy Barnes, who is believed to have been the gunman’s intended victim on the night, and not guilty of possession of an unlicensed firearm. The judge acquitted Anglin on two other counts on the indictment, including possession of an imitation firearm and a breach of the peace in connection with an incident two weeks before the murder, when the crown alleged that Anglin had threatened to kill Barnes at Batabano Plaza.

In the immediate wake of the judge’s decision, speaking on the courthouse steps, the police commissioner said it was a sad day for the Barnes family and a “desperate day for justice” in Cayman. David Baines said that he had asked the director of public prosecutions to urgently seek an appeal against the verdict, as he said it was important that the people saw that justice was done and he believed there were grounds for review of the judge’s verdict.

Former RCIPS detective chief inspector Peter Kennett, the senior investigator on the case who has since retired but was present for the trial, said he felt very sad for Jeremiah's parents, Dorlisa and Andy. “They witnessed the tragic murder of their beautiful son, Jeremiah, and have always been totally adamant that Devon Anglin, a man whom they know extremely well, was the person who fired the gun at them,” he said. “This is quite the saddest moment in my forty plus years of policing, both here and in the UK,” Kennett added.

This is the third murder trial in the last few months relating to shootings in which a judge alone has presided and a not guilty verdict has been handed down. In the last two cases four men have walked free from court after all of them had served more than a year in jail.

Despite the verdict Wednesday, Anglin did not walk free. The 26-year-old West Bay man, who has been in jail since his arrest in February, was remanded in custody as he still faces another murder trial later this year. Anglin is charged with the fatal shooting of Carlos Webster in a West Bay Road nightclub in September 2009.

Category: Crime

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