Retrial ordered in sex case

| 16/04/2014

(CNS): The conviction against a man from Cayman Brac accused ofraping his step daughter has been quashed by the court of appeal. Following submissions earlier in the appeal court session regarding new evidence which had come to light since the trial the panel agreed with the man's defense attorney that the new witness statement could have had an impact on the outcome so much so that the conviction was unsafe. After the president of the appeal panel directed a retrial in the case the defendant who had been serving a nine and half year sentence and who cannot be named for legal reasons was remanded in custody but was later released on bail.

The appeal court frond that the new evidence in this case would have been both admissible and credible. "If the evidence….had been given at the trial of the appellant it might reasonably have affected the decision of the jury to convict on each of the counts and we must therefore regard the convictions as being unsafe," Justice Elliott Mottley said as he read from the appeal court's decision over turning the verdict.

Asking defense attorney for the crown Trisha Hutchison and for the defendant  Amelia Fosuhene of James Stenning and Associates their position on a retrial the prosecution submitted that the evidence may have had an impact but the conversation related by the new witness was said to have taken place almost three years after the offence. Hutchinson said the crown was seeking a retrial, but Fosuhene said she had concerns regarding witnesses, her client's health and above all the prejudice to him as a result of his identification on a Facebook page.

The attorney pointed to her client's picture and exposure on the controversial social media page which is hosted by a US resident but which details convicted sex offenders in Cayman and said he would not be able to have a fair trial.

The appeal court noted that now the man was no longer convicted that his details would have to be removed from the page but questions of prejudice, the court said, over a fair trial would have to be dealt with by a future trial judge as it ordered, in the interests of justice, a new trial.

The 39 year old defendant was convicted of rape and indecent assault in July last year and was sentenced to nine and a half years in jail in August. The conviction was related to allegations that he had raped his then 12 year old step daughter on one occasion and forced her to have oral sex with him on another. He was also accused of threatening her into silence about the assaults.

The case will now be re listed for a mention and a new trial date listed but the defense team is expected to argue in the grand court that the defendant, following the social media exposure, will be unable to receive a fair trial.


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Category: Crime

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