Perez re-trial postponed as case goes to Privy Council

| 20/09/2010

(CNS): The attorney acting for Josue Carillo Perez has confirmed that the Privy Council in the UK will now be hearing the appeal on the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal decision to overturn the acquittal of his client for murder. As a result the retrial scheduled to open in Grand Court today (20 September) has been postponed to make way for the higher court’s decision. Perez was found not guilty of the murder of Martin Gareau in May 2008 following a trial by judge alone last July. However the verdict of Justice Roy Anderson was overturned, following an appeal by the crown, as a result of a self misdirection in the judge’s ruling stating that the burden of proof was enhanced for a murder charge.

Following the local appeal court’s decision in March, Perez who is a Honduran national living in the Cayman Islands, was rearrested. After the trial in July 09 he had been freed from Northward prison where he been on remand since he was arrested for the crime shortly after Gareau’s badly beaten body was found at his Beach Bay home.
Perez denied murder, when he took the witness stand during the trial and said he considered the victim a friend. The crown’s case was based on two latent fingerprints found at Gareau’s home which matched the defendant who said he had been to Gareau’s home only a few weeks before for a barbeque.
The judge said in his ruling that it while it was plausible that Perez could have committed the crime, plausibility was not enough and the crown had not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.  Justice Anderson explained that although the defendant had elected for a judge alone trial, it was still the role of the judge to be both judge and jury and make the decision on the evidence. The judge said that while he believed it was possible that Perez was involved, he could not say that he was sure he had committed the act of murder and therefore returned a verdict of not guilty.
The judge told the court that the Crown’s case was based on circumstantial evidence, and while it had demonstrated with the fingerprint evidence that he was likely there at the scene, there was evidence to suggest that if Perez had played any part he was not alone, but the Crown had presented the case as the defendant as the sole perpetrator of murder.
Perez currently remains on remand at Northward and is now listed to next appear in court in November.
In the most recent five murder trials prosecuted by the Crown this was the only case in which it did not secure a conviction. However, the CICA recently allowed the appeal against the murder conviction of William Martinez McLaughlin for the killing of Brian Rankine-Carter. This case has also been returned to the Grand Court for retrial as a result of a misdirection by the trial judge to the jury.
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