Appeal court to hear crown on Anglin’s acquittal

| 30/07/2012

devon.JPG(CNS): The crown will present its case in November for the retrial of Devon Anglin for the murder of 4-year-old Jeremiah Barnes, following the appeal court's decision that the question of jurisdiction should still be argued alongside the merits of the appeal at their next session. The narrow point of whether or not the the appeal court had the jurisdiction to hear the crown's appeal against the verdict following a judge alone trial in September last year, when Anglin was acquitted, was argued in court Monday. The legal panel queried whether the crown's case for appeal met the requirements of the law in an effort to avoid a full hearing if the appeal court turned out not to have jurisdiction.

Following arguments from Andrew Radcliffe QC on behalf of the crown and David Ryder QC on behalf of Anglin, who was found not guilty of the child's murder by Justice Howard Cooke, the appeal courtconcluded that it was not entirely obvious whether it did or did not have jurisdiction and ruled that the full appeal be heard in the next session.

During the legal arguments questions were raised over the interpretation of the new appeal court law and the ambiguity of section 28 in the 2011 amendment and whether this went as far as allowing an appeal by the crown — leading to double jeopardy — in regard with mixed issues of law and fact in the circumstances of a judge alone trial.

In a jury trial the judge's jurisdiction is confined to the points of law, while the jury is charged with assessing the facts of the case and the truth of the matter. However, without a jury the judge must also assess the facts as well as the law. As a result, the ambiguity of the new amendment has left open the question of whether or not the legislators intended to allow the crown to appeal an acquittal on almost any grounds of fact, threatening the rights of an acquitted man.

The poor drafting of the new law appeared to leave too much open to interpretation and the appeal judges ruled that the matter of jurisdiction itself should also be heard alongside the merits of the appeal. The crown claims the trial judge in the case was wrong when he did not give due consideration to significant expert analysis of the CCTV evidence and the debate now centres around whetherthis is an issue of law or fact.

Anglin was acquitted of being the masked gunman that opened fire on a car belonging to the Barnes family in West Bay in February 2010 at the Hell Road gas station. The crown's case is that Anglin was the masked attacker who was trying to kill his gang enemy, Andy Barnes, the father of the child who was shot in the head during the gang related shooting.

Barnes and the boy's mother, Dorlisa Ebanks, and his brother were uninjured during the incident, when several shots were fired at the car as it was about to pull out of the gas station forecourt.

Both of the child's parents gave evidence that the gunman was Anglin, which the crown said was supported by CCTV footage. The judge, however, rejected the evidence of the Barnes as inconsistent and unreliable and therefore did not give any weight to the CCTV footage and consequent analysis.

The crown claimed the judge misdirected himself when he failed to give weight to the supporting evidence because he had already rejected the Barnes' testimony. It claims that the judge had to consider the CCTV evidence to see if it gave any weight to the ID witness evidence from Jeremiah's parents before he rejected their accounts. As a result, the prosecution wants to try Anglin again in what would be another case of double jeopardy in Cayman's Grand Court.

Jose Perez was tried twice for the murder of Martin Gareau, who was killed at his Beach bay home in May 2009. Perez faced two judge alone trials in the jurisdiction's first case of double jeopardy but was acquitted on both occasions.

During the November session Anglin will also have his own appeal against his conviction for the murder of Carlos Webster in a West Bay Road nightclub heard.

Category: Crime

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