Charges dropped after man serves year on remand

| 07/09/2011

(CNS): The crown has dropped its case against a man who spent more than a year in jail awaiting a trial date that never came. Craig Johnson (30), who was charged with accessory after the fact in connection with the Marcus Duran murder in March 2010, was released by the courts last month after the crown offered no evidence against him. However, Johnson had been incarcerated for around 14 months with no set trial date because of the crown’s difficulties with the case. Johnson was accused of being involved in the killing of the numbers man in West Bay because he had carried the crown’s main suspect, who was also shot at the crime scene, in his car.

However, the courts acquitted the teenager,who was charged with the murder after a judge alone trial in June and the crown then decided not to proceed with the case against Johnson.

Prior to Johnson’s release, postponements in the teen’s murder trial resulted in the crown’s failure to fix a date for his case because it wanted to try Johnson after the main suspect had faced the courts. This meant that Johnson was not only in jail for over fourteen months he was on remand without a trial date.

Johnson was first jailed in connection with the case in April 2010 and he remained there until June of this year, when he was eventually released on an electronic tag. Throughout his time in prison the crown had persistently fought his attorney’s attempts to have his client bailed as a result of what they said was the severity of the crime for which Johnson had been charged.

The crown had claimed that the delay in setting a trial date for Johnson was in connection with representation problems of the crown’s second suspect in the murder of Duran, Raziel Jeffers. The crown said that Jeffers had coordinated the plan to rob Duran. The crown’s case was that he had recruited the teen who was accused of the killing and Johnson, who was, the crown claimed, the getaway driver. As a result, the prosecution was seeking to add Jeffers to the indictment with the teen murder suspect and try the men together as a joint enterprise.

However, since Jeffers was unrepresented, eventually the crown was forced to abandon the mission to have the men tried at the same time and went ahead with the teen’s trial. When the teen was found not guilty, the crown’s case against Johnson, which was based on the killer being in his car, was undermined, leading to his release.

Johnson had consistently denied the charges against him, stating that all he did was pick-up the teenager on the roadside when he saw that he was hurt and had nothing to do with the crime. Speaking for his client during a bail application in May, which was refused, his defence attorney Anthony Akiwumi described the situation as “oppressive”.

Akiwumi had told the court that for being a “good Samaritan” his client had languished in jail for well over a year without knowing his fate. “It is unconscionable that somebody should be kept in confinement unaware of his fate for this length of time,” the lawyer said, adding that it went against all acceptable human rights considerations.

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  1. Caymanian Boat Captain says:

    Aaaaaahhhhhh boy "Politricks" once again !!

  2. Anonymouse says:

    So, the holdup was the lack of defence representtion. Who gets sued for that? Sounds more liek an argument for better 'public defence system' than an indictment of the prosecution who was were reportedly ready to take their case (insuficient though it aparently was) to court.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A year of this young mans life has been wasted, I surely hope that he do sue then for everything they got.  Know your rights and stand up!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I see another expensive damages settlement pending here.

    Recently there's been a lot of criticism of the RCIPS messing up trials but maybe the time has come to take a look at the way the prosecution service operates.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The system here is a JOKE!!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr johnson you need to sue for false Imprionment. And i hope you get millions.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Way to go court system. In a real company you would be fired for negligence. Either the public prosecutor build a case with an approriate amount of time WITH evidence or let people go (and then watch them and wait for them to cock up again because most likely they will) . Don't let it launguish in court untl the Judge throws it out like old smelly laundry. Incompetance at all levels. You wonder why these guys think they can get away with "Murder".

  8. Anonymous says:

    Cha chingggg!!!!!

    • Leagle Seagull says:

      Why?  There is no ordinary right to compensation in such circumstances unless the arrest was wrongful.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not strictly correct, you should take a look at recent changes in the UK. There's no longer the need to prove malice or wrongdoing, it's now enough to show that the prosecution was basically unsound.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If he was involved, great work by Anthony, if he wasn't, what do you expect in Cayman? The prosecutors are out of control, vaguely following probably something that might have almost been law once to enable them to achieve what they deem as important.

    The whole legal department needs an overhaul, maybe we could even put some lawyers in there. It is facical and, as Anthony says, "“It is unconscionable that somebody should be kept in confinement unaware of his fate for this length of time,” the lawyer said, adding that it went against all acceptable human rights considerations." – NO, it's Cayman, and you allow it.

    They say if you gave a thousand monkeys a thousand typewriters, the would eventually writte the whole works of Shakespere. By the same tonken, if you give a dozen monkeys a dozen mail order business suits and some books, eventually they may bring a reliable prosecution, but I doubt it.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      The "monkey" thing has already been done here and that is why a situation like this is ok:

      We gave a group of monkeys a mandate; a few thousand other monkeys voted. The result was the Cayman Islands Constitution.


      (My sincerest apology to any simian who might take it as an insult to be equated with those who are responsible for the new constitution – I meant no offense to any real monkeys.)