Murder defendant to wait 2 years for day in court

| 17/03/2014

(CNS): The crown has successfully argued that a second man charged with the murder of Robert Bush in West Bay in September 2011 should stand trial with the first man charged with the crime. As a result, David Tomassa will now stand in the dock in July alongside Brian Borden, who was originally charged in relation to the gang-related killing in August 2012 and has been in custody ever since. Bush was shot by two armed gunmen who opened fire on him as he sat in a car in the Birch Tree Hill area of the district, which triggered a tit-for-tat spate of murders across a nine day period, when four other young men were shot and killed and a fifth man received multiple gunshot wounds but survived.

Borden was charged and remanded in custody almost a year after the killings but it was more than two years after the killing that police charged Tomassa, in December last year.
A catalogue of legal issues with this case have led to numerous adjournments, leaving Borden on remand for an excessive amount of time without trial.

Following the last minute adjournment of Borden’s trial, which was due to start in January, as a result of the charges against Tomassa which resulted in a surge of eleventh hour disclosure relating to that case, prosecutors took the opportunity to apply for both men to face trial together. Meanwhile, defense attorneys for both Borden and Tomassa applied for the men to be tried separately.

Following legal arguments on Friday, the chief justice ruled Monday morning that the men would be tried together and date was fixed for July 2014, almost two years since Borden was taken into custody.

Although defence attorney Nick Hoffman, who is representing Borden, has applied for bail on numerous occasions for his client, he remains on remand at HMP Northward. Hoffman has also fought and lost a human rights case regarding what he argued was a breach of Borden’s presumptive right to bail on the basis of the crime he is charged with and not on the circumstances of the case.

Although it is not mandatory for murder suspects to be jailed while awaiting trial, it is exceptionally rare that a person charged with murder would be granted bail. This is based on the penalty of a mandatory whole life sentence, which the crown has always successfully argued makes any defendant in such cases an elevated flight risk, and as a result the suspects, regardless of the level of evidence, are almost never bailed.

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Category: Crime

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