‘Hopeless case’ thrown out

| 14/05/2012

courts good.jpg(CNS): An attempt by the crown to prosecute a local mechanic for perverting the course of justice in a fatal hit and run case was thrown out by a Grand Court judge Monday after the crown presented a particularly weak case. Justice Alex Henderson told the prosecuting counsel his case “was hopeless” after he heard the crown’s evidence against the accused man, whom he discharged less than three hours after the case opened.  The public prosecutors had contended that Lancelot Ming had tried to conceal a fender when he learned it was from the car involved in the killing because he had placed it on the top of a container at his garage.

On behalf of the crown, Michael Snape presented no evidence that Ming had actually intended to deliberately hide the fender from the police or that he had tried to throw it away and admitted that the mechanic had, when the appropriate opportunity arose, told the police who was driving the car.

Just a day or so after he had learned that the fender came from the vehicle that had mowed down Quindel Ames (55) on a West Bay pedestrian crossing in December 2007, Ming revealed that he was told by the car’s owner, Mark Jefferson, that he was driving when Ames was killed. He also told the police that he had the fender, which had been damaged in the accident, at his garage in George Town and took police to where it was.

Ming admitted going to Jefferson’s yard on what turned out to be the morning after the accident on Sunday 16 December, where he helped take off the fender from the vehicle, but at the time he did not know the car had been involved in a fatal hit and run. He said Jefferson had told him his girlfriend had "mash-up the car" and asked him to repair the fender. Ming said that Jefferson had also given him the wheels from the vehicle in payment for other work the mechanic was doing for him on a different car.

The crown claimed that when Ming received a call from Jefferson a few days later, he had tried to discard and conceal the offending car part by putting it on top of the container. However, Ming soon told the police what he knew about the crime and the whereabouts of the car part. In his statement he said he had not known before the phone call that Jefferson was involved in the killing or that the fender was important to the investigation.

Although he had not mentioned the fender in his first statement to the police, Ming said later that this was because he was being interviewed in a place where he could be overheard. It was not until the following day that he spotted CI Courtney Myles at the police station, who was at the time head of traffic and an officer that Ming knew, that he felt comfortable saying Jefferson was the hit and run driver and that he had the fender at his garage.

Justice Henderson, who was presiding over the trial alone without a jury, said that in his view there was not and “could not be any case to answer” over the concealment of the fender on the evidence presented by the crown. The judge pointed out that by placing the fender on the container the accused had made it no less visible than if he had left it on the ground or anywhere else and there was no evidence of any intent to interfere with the investigation.

During the presentation of the crown’s evidence it was revealed that the police had arrested Jefferson for killing Ames as a result of the discovery of beads and sequins on his car which matched the deceased woman's dress. The car was seized by police after it was found in Jefferson’s yard at his home in Watercourse Road, without wheels, on blocks with a missing fender and damage to the front headlights.

Jefferson was arrested for the road crime but never admitted to the police that he was driving and he was never charged with the killing. Jefferson was shot dead some seven months later outside Kelly’s Bar, West Bay, in a gang related shooting that has never been solved. Jefferson, who was 23 when he was murdered, was a close friend of Damion Ming, the brother of the mechanic, and was alleged to be a member of the Logwoods gang.

Category: Crime

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    RIP Marky!!!!!! Love you bobo

  2. cow itch says:

    judge henderson, was the fender gracefully applied on the prosecutors forehead ?  nooooooo ….  just boring! 

  3. Anonymous says:

    "Although he had not mentioned the fender in his first statement to the police, Ming said later that this was because he was being interviewed in a place where he could be overheard."

    where was this? why would police take a statement in circumstances where person does not feel comfortable or cant speak openly and frankly. DUMB>

    • B miles says:

      The word you are lookng for anon 12:35 is called incompetent! and hopeless is another word that could be used to describe the RCIPS just sad that some are unable to accept this reality?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has too many "Generals"

  5. Anonymous says:

    The CPS is continually unable to see the wood for the trees. Does persecuting that teacher a couple of years ago after he was arrested in possession of a minute spec of ganga ring any bells? The poor dude was kicked off the island….but won his appeal. Prosecuting that lady about the "stolen" dog? Or that agent where the case was blatently prejudiced by the FCU cop? The list is endless.

    Clearly there is still someone very very senior in the CPS signing off these decisions to prosecute who, lets be polite here, 'wouldnt be able to get a job in the real world'. Sad because it messes innocent peoples lives up and wastes the Government a small fortune every year

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t blame the police for bringing charges alone blame the legal department for it is they who decide if and when o press charges

    • Anonymous says:

      I couldn't agree with you more! As a former prosecutor "from the real world", I am convinced that the DPP's Office either does not have a Code for Crown Prosecutors or refuse to apply it.  This test ensures that not only is the evidential test met, but the public interest test is ALSO met.  Furthermore, it is a CONTINUOUS review process.  Evidence or information may come to light which could change the initial position – I have seen many cases lost because a prosecutor with a particularly dogmatic approach fails to see that the case should be abandoned and intend to prosecute "at any cost".  It seems to me the Legal Department are either afraid to say no to the Police (for poorly investigated cases), or they take the view they will prosecute any case presented, irrespective of the strength of the evidence – either way a fundamental lack of judgment required of a Crown Prosecutor. 

       

      How embarrasing for Cayman.

       

      ps: The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) is actually the prosecuting body in England and Wales – although I did appreciate in this instance you were referring to the Legal Department or as it is now known – the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

      • Anonymous says:

        And where is it that you are from? The most embarrassing cases on record occur in the UK, so please say where this perfect jurisdiction is located. If you are interested, we can get into a public debate on the corruption and incompetence of your Crown Prosecution Service. I will name cases tit for tat with you. You name Cayman's and I name the UK's. Ready? You first.

        • Just Commentin' says:

          I from Cayman, Bobo, and as for Moi, I would enjoy getting into a public debate on the incompetence of our very own (hopeless) prosecution system.

           

          Tell ya what: I will name cases tit for tat with you. You name Cayman's least hopeless dumb prosecution and I name the most hopeless one. Ready? You first.

           

          (Huh? Having problems sorting out which ones qualify for least hopeless? Gee…many of us here can understand why.)

    • Plato says:

      They say that if one works for Government long enough they will be eventually promoted to their level of incompetence.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the Attorney General has fallen asleep at the wheel once again – on your dime.   This case belongs in the garbage heap and he has the discretion and duty to throw it there.  Instead, he wastes thousdands of dollars and hundreds of man hours pursuing this frivolous case.  Hmmh, if only he devoted as much time and energy investigating some of his buddies. 

     

    CNS: The attorney general is no longer in charge of prosecutions. This is now under the Director of Public Prosecutions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who cares what u call them it’s the legal departments call and their fault

    • Anonymous says:

      But does the AG not oversee the Director of Public Prosecutions and is he not ultimately responsible for their actions?

       

      CNS: No. 

      • noname says:

        No the DPP is now entirely separate from the AG under the new Constitution. The DPP is NOT accountable to the AG and the AG has no say in criminal prosecution decisions

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes God has his special little way of righting the wrongs of this world.

    R.I.P. Ms. Q.

    • Anonymous says:

      With an impending Bill of Rights coming into effect, we should see less of these 'fiascos' appearing before the judges…the consequences of legal redress for false charges, false arrest and civil penalties against the govt. will be too great for this stupidness to continue.

      If they couldn't arrestand charge the driver of the vehicle for the 'hit and run' killing when they had him, how in heavens did they expect to charge and convict the mechanic, who subsequently gave them evidence of the driver being guilty of the crime ?

      This seems like a decision based on pure revenge for the killing of a lady who had strong ties and respect within Cayman's religious community, particularly the SDA church…

      Or a vindictive attempt to make this mechanic pay for his brother's reputation.

      The DoP might be ultimately responsible for the decisions made by her dept. but is she the only one involved in deciding who is prosecuted, and for what ?

      If this is not addressed,a few human rights abuse cases brought before Cayman's courts after November will soon sort them out.

       

  8. Anonymous says:

    There was a QC here for this case, and the cost was…….THOUSANDS! The legal department need to stop bringing these 'hopeless' cases. They never want to make a difficult decision, not everything has to go to trial – pick your battles. You are supposed to be officers of the Court, administrators of justice – this isn't just a battle against the people, making up numbers or even winning against the defence!You have a duty, have the courage and desire to do things properly please.

    • noname says:

      NOT the Legal Department, for criminal matter is now the separate Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Seriously?! You say potato I say "potato". Either way, the comment is still valid.  The change of name is a simply a matter of form and not substance. The same staff that worked in the Legal Department are a part of the DPP's Office.  The former Solicitor General is now the DPP.

        • noname says:

          Not so the Legal Department is now the civil branch of the AG Chambers, and only oversees legal advice concerning civil matters. The DPP is a separate department with no accountability to the AG. The SG reports to the AG still, has no connection with DPP.