Jeffers’ murder appeal fails

| 26/11/2012

raziel (226x300).jpg(CNS): The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal made by Raziel Jeffers against his conviction for the murder of Marcus Ebanks and the attempted murder of several other young men. The reasons for the judgment which upholds the conviction have not been yet been revealed as the ruling contains references to a confidential police intelligence report. The president of the appeals court explained that the full decision will not be released formally until the crown has made submissions to the judges regarding issues of confidentially and possible applications for a partial redaction. Before they formally closed the appeal, the court said that it would allow Jeffers' lawyer to make an application for them to hear a third ground on the basis of a police report dealing with gunshot residue (GSR).

The appeals court released a copy of the draft ruling to both the crown and defence lawyers in order for them to consult regarding the question of confidentiality and possible future prejudice and to allow the defence counsel to make the new application for appeal.

The judges said that they had not yet seen the report, which was undertaken by the police and disclosed to Jeffers' legal team in October. The report examined levels of GSR contamination at the George Town police station, on police officers and on equipment, which may call into question the validity of GSR presented by the crown as evidence in a number of cases.

The judges had dismissed Jeffers' appeal on both grounds advanced in the summer session by the legal team, which did not deal with GSR. The grounds submitted related to the possible or perceived bias on the part of the trial judge because he had seen an intelligence report which concerned Jeffers, and secondly because evidence that the crown's key witness lied regarding her movements on the day of the shooting was never seen by the court at the trial.

With both of those grounds dismissed, defence counsel Richard Barton was given until Wednesday to make a formal application on the new grounds, which, if successful, will be heard before the end of this appeal session, the president said.

The question of the conviction in this case has also delayed two further murder cases relating to Jeffers. The West Bay man is also accused of the murder of Damion Ming in his own yard in Birch Tree Hill and Marcus Duran, who was collecting cash for 'numbers' in Maliwannis Way, both of whom were shot dead in March 2010 in the district of West Bay.

In both of the outstanding cases the crown depends heavily on the same key witness who gave evidence against Jeffers in the trial concerning the shooting in Bonaventure Lane in which Ebanks was killed.

As well as the fatal shooting of Ebanks, teenager Adryan Powell was shot multiple times and is now confined to a wheelchair and Marcus' younger brother, Rod Ebanks, was shot in the arm. Two more young men were also shot at by two masked gunmen, who opened fire on the boys as they were sitting outside a house smoking and drinking. These victims included Jose Sanchez, who the crown said was Jeffers' intended target.

The crown contends that Jeffers made a confession to his former girlfriend, who is the mother of one of his children, regarding his part in the Bonaventure Lane shooting as well as Duran and Ming's murders.

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