Men charged with Scott-Roberts murder seek lawyers

| 01/06/2009

(CNS): Both men facing charges over the murder of Estella Scott-Roberts are currently without legal representation. According to the law, anyone charged with murder must receive qualified legal experience through legal aid and both men have pleaded not guilty. However, both Ben Tonner and John Furniss the lawyers allocated to Kirkland Henry (left) and Larry Ricketts have reportedly removed themselves from the case. Henry has requested legal aid pay for a QC from Jamaica to take his case but that request has been denied. In court on Friday Tonner said he was not prepared to act alone in a case of this nature when Queen’s Counsel has been denied.

Furness has apparently quit over disagreements with his client Ricketts. Nonetheless, lawyers will have to be found for the men long before their trial date. The men are charged with the murder, kidnapping, and robbery of Scott-Roberts on 11 October of last year and Henry is also charged with raping the former director of the Crisis Centre.

Her body was discovered in the back of her own burnt out SUV in the dykes around Barker’s in West Bay. The two men accused of her killing both lived in George Town but are Jamaican nationals and were employed as a carpenter and a gardener. They were arrested on Monday, 27 October, after police had allegedly traced them because they were in possession of Scott-Roberts’ cell phone. Although police did not comment on motives regarding the actions of the two men, they did reportedly confessed.

During their court appearance in January when they entered their pleas, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards asked for the two accused to be remanded in custody because of the seriousness of the offences, the strength of the evidence and that as foreigners the men were a genuine flight risk. Richards had indicated that not only had the men had recent possession of Scott-Roberts’ cell phones when they were arrested, there were specific forensics linking Henry to her. She also said the men had made detailed statements to the police.

The murder of Scott-Roberts, who worked as an executive with Cable and Wireless and who was a leading advocate in the community against gender violence and abuse, sent shock wavesthrough the community. SIO Peter Kennett, who headed up the police investigation, said that crime could not only be measured by the acts that take place but also by the reaction of the community. “The reaction we have seen since 11 October has been one of shock, disbelief, outrage and disgust. This is a testament to everyone that calls Cayman home.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I pray to God that justice is served for Estella. I pray that her violent, tragic and untimely passing is not gone unpunished! I sincerely pray that justice is served for my friend!!!!!

  2. Disappointed says:

    So what happens if they can’t find lawyers for them? 

    PLEASE tell me that this couldn’t be a case where the charges would be dropped.

  3. Anonymous says:


    John Furniss is a fantastic attorney. He has been a part of the legal system in the Cayman Islands for decades. If there is anyone who could have done anything for the rights of the gentlemen being charged it would have been him. I pity them for being so foolish… but then again I guess that God is ensuring that they get what they deserve!  


  4. Anonymous says:

    Not a good sign when your lawyers withdraw from representing you.

    • Anonymous says:

      To whoever said "not a good sign"  – don’t speak about that which you clearly know nothing about.  The reason the Mr Tonner sought come off record is that unlike every other murder on this island his client has been denied legal aid for leading counsel.  He is therefore professionally embarrassed – listen to the full story before you make a judgement on the defendant’s or indeed their guilt.  It is a disgrace that legal aid in a murder as sensitive and brutal as this has been refused for leading counsel and yet legal aid for  leading juniors and silks from uk and elsewhere has been granted for other murders and indeed attempt murders.  This stinks of either political considerations coming into play ie who was murdered and so deny the defendants a right afforded to other defendants who were in similar situations with different victims or else it is a financial issue in which case that is equally a sad indictment of the criminal justice system on this island.