Crown pursues murder cases

| 03/12/2012

raziel.JPG(CNS): Although Raziel Jeffers' conviction for the murder of Marcus Ebanks was upheld by the Court of Appeal, condemning the 28-year-old West Bay man to a life behind bars, the crown intends to continue with two other charges against him. Jeffers has also been charged with the murder of Damion Ming and Marcus Duran, two fatal shootings which occurred within days of each other in West Bay in 2010. Trials have now been set for August and October of next year. In both cases the primary evidence presented by the crown is the alleged confession that Jeffers made to his ex-lover.

The court dismissed Jeffers' appeals last week, which were made primarily on two grounds. The first was that the trial judge had been biased against the defendant as a result of seeing a damning police dossier and intelligence report relating to local gang activity which pointed to Jeffers as a one of the most dangerous men in Cayman. The second grounds of appeal was that telephone evidence which demonstrated that the crown’s key witness had lied about the day of the shooting in Bonaventure Lane was never put before the trial judge.

The appeal was dismissed, however, and although the defence was given an opportunity to present a third ground relating to gunshot residue contamination (GSR) particles found on Jeffers at the time of his arrested shortly after the shooting, in which teenager Adryan Powell was also paralysed and three other boys were also shot at, the defence has not pursued this route.

A police report recently revealed GSR at George Town police station, the police vehicles and equipment, as well as officers, bringing into question GSR evidence. However, Jeffers’ defence team acknowledged that the conviction against their client did not hang on the GSR.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal also dismissed the appeal of Leonard Ebanks for the murder of Tyrone Burrell in Birch Tree Hill, West Bay, in September 2010. The main evidence against Ebanks had been based on the evidence of a woman whom Ebanks had allegedly confessed his crime to.

However, the defence team had said that the witness has claimed to have had visions and dreams foretelling the future, and as a result claimed she was a fantasist who had made up the confession, and with no direct corroborating evidence, the trial judge had misdirected himself. However, the court dismissed the appeal.

The appeal court begins its final week Monday with an appeal by Devon Anglin against his conviction for the murder of Carlos Webster in a West Bay Road nightclub in 2009. His was the first conviction in Cayman using entirely anonymous witnesses and the findings of the higher court in this case could set a precedence for future use of witnesses who are identified only to the trial judge.

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