Archive for October 21st, 2014

Year wait in murder appeal

| 21/10/2014 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The director of public prosecutions has been waiting on a decision from the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal regarding a high profile child murder verdict for more than a year now, with still no sign of a ruling. Following the acquittal of Devon Anglin (28) who was charged with killing four year old Jeremiah Barnes in February 2010, the crown filed an appeal against the visitingjudge’s decision after he found Anglin not guilty. The arguments for overturning the verdict were heard by the appeal panel in August 2013 and despite crown counsel pressing the urgency of the case, if there was to be a retrial, the higher court has given no indication on whether or not the verdict stands.

The next session of the court of appeal is scheduled to sit in November and the Grand Court heard Friday that the case has not been listed to be heard though the crown was still hopeful that the appeal judges would find time to deliver this pressing judgment despite a packed agenda for the winter’s session. A West Bay man who is charged with obstructing justice in connection with the case has been on police bail for four and a half years as the case against him cannot go ahead until after a decision has been made on whether or not there is to be a retrial in the case.

It is not clear why the higher court has taken so long to come to a decision on the verdict as the president of the CICA had himself acknowledged that time was an important factor following the appeal hearing last year.

Anglin had been acquitted by Justice Howard Cooke following a judge alone trial on 31 August, 2011. The crown’s appeal was adjourned a number of times before it was finally heard but the president of the appeal court had noted that if they were to find the judge had misdirected himself there would be a re-trial.  Justice John Chadwick said the case was important to Devon Anglin, the parents of the child, the prosecutors and the wider community as the verdict had attracted a lot of public comment at the time.  “Let nothing suggest we don’t appreciate the importance of this case,” Chadwick has said in the summer session of the 2013 appeal court.

At the end of the sitting, the court president said they would put their reasons in writing before announcing a decision. If the appeal was dismissed that would leave Anglin acquitted but were they to allow the appeal it would be important to have a retrial “sooner rather than later,” Justice Chadwick had stated. 

Four year old Jeremiah Barnes was sitting in the back seat of the family car driven by his father, Andy Barnes, when a gunman opened fire at the Hell Service station in West Bay on the night of 15 February, 2010. Although, Barnes who was believed to be the target was not injured, a bullet entered the car window and passed through his headrest, hitting and killing his son. The boy’s mother and his brother were also in the car at the time.

Jeremiah’s parents, both of whom knew Anglin, named him as the gunman. However, Justice Cooke who seem to struggle with some of the CCTV evidence completed rejected their identification and acquitted Anglin. 

During the appeal Andrew Radcliffe, QC, argued on behalf of the crown that Justice Cooke’s refusal to consider all of the evidence in the round and to dismiss the eye witness testimony of the child’s parents without considering it conjunction with supporting circumstantial evidence and VT evidence, amounted to an error in law. John Ryder, QC, who represented Anglin in defence of the acquittal argued that the judge had acted in accordance with the law, applied it properly and h reached a rational conclusion.

The judges had pushed Radcliffe hard during the appeal hearing to demonstrate that the judge had made a mistake in law and not on his interpretation of the facts.  The president of the appeal court, Sir John Chadwick, said he was “open to the idea that there was a point at which, in law,a judge could not simply ignore evidence”

Although Anglin was acquitted he is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Carlo Webster in a gang related shooting at the Next Level Night Club in September 2009. The Court of Appeal has already heard and dismissed an appeal in that conviction.

Since the story was posted the courts have now confirmed that the decision is expected in November. See related story on CNS here

Continue Reading