Acquitted man denied bail

| 17/03/2010

(CNS): Following the surprise decision on Monday by the court of appeal to overturn the not guilty verdict handed down by the Grand Court to Josue Carillo Perez and order a re-trial, the acquitted man has also been denied bail. Anthony Akiwumi, (left) Perez’s defence attorney is still pursuing the release of his client on the electronic monitoring system, as he confirmed that he will be taking this case to the Privy Council. Akiwumi pointed out that he is not aware of any case in the Commonwealth where a man who went through the full trial process, was acquitted of the crime then was re-arrested and had to face the possibility of a retrial. (Photo courtesy of News 27)

Perez was found not guilty in October of last year by Justice Roy Anderson after a judge alone trial lasting more than four weeks of the murder of Martin Gareau. However, under an amendment to the Court of Appeal Law thecrown appealed the verdict on the grounds that the judge had used the word “enhanced” at one point in his ruling suggesting that he had directed himself to raise the burden of proof, that he had speculated about what might have happened and had failed to explain his doubts to the guilt of Perez all errors in law.

Despite the observations of the defence that the judge had directed himself of the need to be sure of guilt and that it is “impossible to be surer than sure,” the three appellant judges found in favour of the crown and ordered a retrial and the controversial issue of double jeopardy.

Akiwumi stated that he had made an application to stay all proceedings in the Cayman Islands Grand Court in order to take this decision before the Privy Council to prevent his client having to face the power of the state all over again without any new evidence or changes to the case.

The defence attorney also raised his concerns about the impact of the 2006 changes to the court of appeal law. “Society has sleepwalked through the introduction of thislegislation the consequences of which do not become apparent until a case such as this,” he said. “Here we have a man who has been acquitted of the crime of murder who is now put in jeopardy by the order of a retrial by the court of appeal.” Akiwumi told CNS that given the circumstances it may be up to the Privy Council to right the ship for is client.

The legislative changes were reportedly made by the AG’s office in order to address prosecution cases which had been thrown out of the Grand Court part way through allowing the crown to restart a trial but this is the first time the legislation has been used to overturn a verdict where an accused has been found innocent by the court.

As this is also a murder case Perez was immediately taken into custody a move that was facilitated by the fact he had voluntarily attended the court of appeal hearing. The crown asked and was granted a warrant for his arrest on the basis that Perez is a Honduran national and that the flight risk was enhanced by the fact that he was to face a second trial.

Perez was charged with the murder of Canadian national Martin Gareau whose badly beaten body was discovered in the garage of his Beach Bay home in May 2008.

See Akiwumi interview on News 27


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