Murder appeal verdict delayed till April ‘13
(CNS): A West Bay man heard that the results of his appeal hearing against a conviction for murder will not be revealed until 8 April 2013. Local attorney, Richard Barton, told the Grand Court Friday morning that he had been informed by the registrar of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal that the ruling in the case of Raziel Jeffers would not be delivered until next year. No reasons for the long wait were revealed but with two other murder cases pending on the outcome of this verdict the crown said it would now have to consider setting dates for those trials regardless.
Jeffers made his appeal in July regarding his conviction for the murder of Marcus Ebanks and the attempted murder of several other young men including Adryan Powell who was only 14 at the time and has since been confined to a wheel chair. Jeffers had been found guilty of being one of two masked gun men who opened fire indiscriminately on the group of young men who were sitting outside a yard in Bonaventure Lane one evening in July 2009.
In the appeal Jeffers’ attorneys focus on the possible bias of the trial judge, Justice Charles Quin, as he had also seen a police intelligence report describing their client as a dangerous and notorious gang member before the trial in which he sat alone without a jury. Secondly the lawyers focused on telephone records which failed to go before the court that demonstrated that the crown’s key witness, and former girlfriend of Jeffers, was not being truthful about her whereabouts and actions on the day of the murder.
While the defence is eager to hear the outcome of the case the crown has also been awaiting the result of the appeal as Jeffers is charged with two other counts of murder. He is accused of killing Marcus Duran and Damion Ming in two separate shootings that occurred in West Bay in in March 2010. In both these cases the crown is relying heavily on the testimony of the same witness and as a result the outcome of the appeal is directly linked to the progress of the other matters.
As a result however, of the now extended and unexpected wait on the appeal result, the crown said Friday it wanted to set trial dates for the two outstanding murders not least because of the escalating problem of the Grand court time table. Prosecuting counsel warned that unless dates were sought for the trials soon it could be 2014 before Jeffers was tried for either of the outstanding murder cases.
Justice Alex Henderson who was sitting for the Friday morning mentions in the Grand Court said it was “unwise to keep the cases in abeyance” and urged he crown to seek out a trial date for the outstanding matters. Jeffers was ordered to be brought back to court on 30 November when dates would be set and other house-keeping issues regarding legal aid addressed.
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