Technology aids summing up at C4T trial

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie began his summing up to the jury this week in the trial of two men charged with assisting another to retain the benefit of the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Richard Homa and Michael Gause are the persons who were allegedly assisted. Because they were major figures in a US business known as Cash 4 Titles, the matter in Cayman has been referred to as the Cash 4 Titles trial. It started in May.

The defendants are Lewis Denton Rowe, who operated a company management business known as Zephyr International; and Patrick Tibbetts, who worked with Rowe as financial controller, then left to form his own company management company, Everest Management.

The trial is taking place in Court 5, on the second floor of Kirk House. The courtroom was built to accommodate electronic technology, including computer monitors for the judge, jurors, defence, prosecution and press.

After instructing the 12 jurors on the law, the Chief Justice said he would summarise salient points of the evidence. There had been 60 witnesses and the transcript of proceedings covered thousands of pages, he noted.

To help keep everyone’s attention, the Chief Justice indicated, he would have pages of the transcript shown on the computer screens as he read selected passages.

Also to assist the jury, each witness had his or her photo taken with a digital camera before giving evidence. When the judge referred to the testimony of a particular witness, an officer trained in the use of the equipment called up that witness’ photo on screen.

Numerous documents were scanned into the system and shown via monitor when witnesses gave their evidence. The judge referred to several of these documents yesterday and they also were displayed on the monitors.

This is believed to be the first time in Cayman that a judge has used such electronic aids in summing up a matter for a jury.

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