Perez faces new murder trial

| 15/03/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman courts, murder Martin Gareau(CNS): The man acquitted of the murder of Martin Gareau by Justice Roy Anderson last year was remanded in custody this evening after the Court of Appeal ordered that he would face a new trial. Josue Carillo Perez, a Honduran national, was found not guilty of the murder of the Canadian national Gareau, whose beaten body was discovered in his home in Beach Bay in May 2008. The crown had appealed the acquittal as they said that the judge, who tried the case without a jury, had engaged in speculation without fully expressing the reasons for his doubts and had directed himself that the burden of proof "was enhanced" because it was a murder trial. (Left: Martin Gareau)

The crown said that if the judge had acquitted the accused man on the basis of a theory not presented to the court or because he had risen the level of the burden of proof, it would be an error in law.

While the three appeal court judges have yet to offer their reasons in writing, after hearing the prosecutions arguments and those of Perez’ defence attorney, Anthony Akiwumi, they informed the court late on Monday afternoon that they were remitting the case back to the Grand Court to order a new trial. When asked by prosecuting counsel for a warrant to remand Perez in custody because the crown stated he was a potential flight risk, the appellant judges agreed.

Akiwumi strongly protested, pointing out that his client had known of the appeal since November and had come to the court to hear it, despite the fact that he was under no obligation to do so, and that it was preposterous to suggest he was flight risk as he would have been able to abscond some time ago. The defence lawyer pointed out that, given the circumstances, Perez should immediately be granted bail and then the crown should make its case in the Grand Court for remanding his client back in custody.

Despite what seemed to be particularly unusual circumstances, in that Perez, who had been a free man since his acquittal, was now about to face re-arrest and the controversial issue of double jeopardy and having not prepared for a return to jail, the judges still ordered the issuance of a warrant. Akiwumi asked for the earliest possible hearing in the Grand Court and immediately notified the judges that he would be seeking leave to take the case to the Privy Council, the Cayman Islands’ highest appeal court.

Perez will now appear before the Grand Court tomorrow to begin the process of a new trail. CNS understands this is the first case in which the crown has appealed and overturned a verdict under the new rights to appeal conferred by changes to legislation in 2006, which opened the possibility that a defendant could be tried for the same case twice.

The appeal court was heard by Sir John Chadwick, presiding, with Justices Dr Abdulai Conteh and Geoffrey Vos QC .

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