Judge refuses to ID witnesses

| 13/12/2011

3289957486_8b99815db3_b.jpg(CNS): Chief Justice Anthony Smellie has refused an application by defence lawyers to remove the anonymity order placed on two crown witnesses in the Devon Anglin trial for the murder of Carlo Webster, keeping their identity a secret from the accused. The chief justice, who is the only person who has been able to see the witnesses and hear their evidence via unaltered voice link during the trial, said Tuesday that he was satisfied that this was not a case of partiality and there was nothing to suggest that the two witnesses had colluded or were motivated to lie. With the anonymity order still in place, Anglin’s defence team moved immediately to make a no case submission.

In his ruling the chief justice said he had been well aware of the need to constantly review the status of the witness anonymity to ensure the defendant had a fair trial but he was satisfied that the order should not be lifted and that the defendant in this case could still have a fair trial without knowing the identity of these witnesses. Revealing who they were would not impact the evidence they have given to the court, the judge indicated.

The order, which was the first of its kind in the Cayman Islands, was originally made by Justice Charles Quin in August and applies to two people, one of whom has said they know Devon Anglin well and saw him shoot Webster in the Next Level nightclub in September 2009. A second witness, who said they did not see the shooting, said they did see a man they later identified as Devon Anglin, whom they did not know at the time, walk past them on the way out of the club, seconds after the murder, pushing a hand gun into the waist of his pants.

Following Chief Justice Smellie’s decision, leading counsel for the defence, Dorian Lovell-Pank QC, began a submission before the senior judge that the crown had not made a case against his client. He said the sole issue in question was the identity of the gunman on the night of the murder and it was not the defendant.

Anglin has claimed that he is not the man the crown has identified as him on the CCTV footage from the club on the night of the shooting and he says that the key witness is either lying or mistaken about who they say they saw shoot Webster in the crowded, poorly lit nightclub.

The lawyer told the court that the quality of the evidence that the crown had placed before the court was so poor that were the case being tried by a jury, properly directed they could not convict his client.  

He said there were serious contradictions and inconsistencies in the crown’s case which could not be explained and that the prosecution was cherry picking the bits of evidence it felt suited its case against Anglin.

Given that the crown had accepted that its case depended heavily on the key first witness, known as witness B, the defence lawyer noted that this person’s evidence contradicted not just the second eye witness, witness E, but the CCTV footage as well.  Lovell-Pank said that far from supporting and corroborating its key witness, the rest of the crown’s evidence contradicted it and the judge should dismiss the case.

Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl Richards QC will respond to the submission Wednesday before the judge decides if the defence must answer the crown.

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Category: Crime

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done witness protection in such a small community is vital, no doubt.