Armed robbers appeal verdict

| 13/11/2014

(CNS): Two men from a gang of convicted robbers described by law enforcement authorities as some of Cayman’s most dangerous criminals have begun an appeal against their convictions for the 2012 West Star heist in George Town.  David Tamasa and Andre Burton began arguing this week that their convictions and 11 year prison terms are unsafe as they were found guilty on completely flawed evidence supplied by the crown’s now infamous supergrass, Marlon Dillon. The men were convicted of stealing over $8000 from the television centre’s offices at gun point. They deny any involvement however and claim Dillon lied to save his own skin naming them, they claim, because as former friends of Dillon’s they were a safer bet than naming the real culprits.

This appeal against the WestStar convictions, handed down by visiting judge Justice Alastair Malcolm in October last year, will be followed next week by appeals against the jury verdict in the Cayman National robbery in May last year. The crown believes this robbery was committed by the same gang involved in the West Star which included Dillon, who was also the main witness.

James Curtis QC, who is representing Tamasa in his appeal against conviction in both daylight armed heists is arguing that Dillon’s evidence is at odds with other evidence, is inconsistent and highly contradictory. He argued that even the crown was forced to admit that during his police interview Dillon was threatened, coerced and cajoled by the police to confess and give up the details of his co-conspirators in the robberies. The female officer who conducted the hours of interviews with Dillon was described as using methods not used since the 1970s and of breaking the rules when it comes to interviewing suspects.

Accusing Dillon of randomly naming his client, Tamasa, among many others, rather than risk the wrath of the real robbers, the lawyer said this was supported by allegations Dillon made about other people. He pointed to names given to the police by Dillon as being involved but who had cast iron alibis and couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the heist. He said his client wasn’t involved either and the conviction was not sound.

The arguments are expected to continue this week ahead of the CNB appeal when the jury verdicts and sentences against Tamasa and Burton along with Rennie Cole, George Mignott, and Ryan Edwards will also be challenged.

Ryan Edwards was also convicted of aiding and abetting in the WestStar robbery but his appeal was rejected before it got off the ground this week as a result of being filed out of time. However, the appeal court panel pointed out that should his con-conspirators Tomasa and Burton be successful in their appeals, Edwards would have new ground =s on which to file giving him another shot.

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Category: Crime

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