Murder suspect faces two year wait for trial

| 17/02/2014

(CNS): A West Bay man who has been on remand for 18 months in connection with an alleged gang -related murder in the district might not face trial until more than two years after he was charged, the court heard Friday. Brian Borden is accused of being one of two masked gun men who opened fire on and killed Robert Mackford Bush as he sat in a car in the Birch Tree hill area of West Bay in September 2011. He was chargedwith the fatalshooting in August 2012 but a catalogue of issues with the case and with the main witness have caused numerous adjournments, leaving Borden on remand for an excessive amount of time without trial.

The latest adjournment of the trial, which was due to start last month, was caused by the charge against a second suspect, David Tomassa,  for being an accessory to the killing and the impact that then had on Borden’s case. In addition, the crown now wants to try Tomassa and Borden together and have made an application to the court to join the cases. The two attorneys representing Borden and Tomassa, however, will be seeking to sever the cases and have two separate trials.  

The lawyers will argue that court room battle next month, and although a trial date has been fixed for September, Nick Hoffman, who is representing Borden, told the court that he was hoping to find an earlier date as a result of the circumstances his client now faces.
Although Hoffman has applied for bail on numerous occasions for his client, Borden remains on remand. Hoffman has also fought and lost a human rights case regarding what he argued was a breach of Borden’s presumptive right to bail on the basis of the crime he is charged with and not on the circumstances of the case.

Although it is not mandatory for a murder suspect to be jailed while awaiting trial, it is exceptionally rare that a person charged with murder would be granted bail. This is based on the penalty of a mandatory whole life sentence, which the crown has always successfully argued makes any defendant in such cases an elevated flight risk, and as a result the suspects, regardless of the level of evidence, are almost never bailed.

Given the possibility, however, that Borden may now have to wait until more than two years after he was charged for his day in court, the question of the right to timely justice is now also a potential problem in this case.

Category: Crime

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