QC: Crown has wrong man

| 09/12/2009

Cayman Islands News(CNS): Legal arguments between the prosecution and the defence continued in the Cayman Islands Grand Court on Wednesday during Randy Martin’s trial for the murder of Sabrina Schirn when the defence suggested that the crown had the wrong man. Presenting his case as to why the judge needed to admit certain evidence, David Evans QC, Martin’s attorney, told Justice Charles Quin that it would point to the likely guilt of another person and show someone other than Martin had not only the opportunity but the motive to kill Schirn. The prosecution is seeking to block the evidence, arguing that it is irrelevant speculation.

Cheryll Richards, the crown prosecutor, said that there was no third party in the dock and the only person on trial was Randy Martin. She observed that there could be perfectly innocent explanations for the inferences the defence was trying to make about the evidence — that it suggested could point to the guilt of another — and that in any event "the presence of another did not mean the absence of the defendant”, Richards said. Richards insisted that the only question the trial needed to address was whether the crown had proved if Martin was guilty.

So far in its case against Martin, the prosecution has offered circumstantial evidence and presented a possible opportunity for the defendant to have committed the crime but has not offered any motive as to why the defendant would have committed the brutal act of murder.

Although the defence does not have to prove the innocence of its client or prove anyone else’s guilt, Evans and his junior counsel, Adam King, have suggested that, because there is considerable circumstantial evidence pointing towards another person as the possible culprit who was known to both the deceased and the defendant, they want the court to consider that evidence in its role as a tribunal of fact, as such evidence could raise reasonable doubt.

The defence said that certain phone records, together with witness statements given to the police, show someone else is more likely to have committed this murder. The individual in question left a threatening message on Schirn’s phone on the eve of her murder, which was played to the judge, and was also said to have threatened the 21-year old in person at her place of work. The defence also wishes to submit statements from other witnesses that say this individual wanted to kill Schirn as she knew about another crime which the individual had committed.

Evans has also argued that phone records demonstrate that the person in question gave an alibi to the police which is shown to be false by those very records it wishes to have accepted in evidence. Finally, the defence is also arguing that the phone records are incriminating because they reveal a two hour silence covering the time period when the crown believes Schirn was killed. Evans told the judge that the phone records of this person show significant and continued activity in the morning before Schirn was killed, followed by a two hour period of silence before continued activity once again.

The judge now has to decide whether he will admit the evidence before the trial continues with the cross examination of the expert witnesses regarding the phone messages, which the crown says is probative to the case.

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