Guilty pleas avert second trial

Persons called for jury duty attended Grand Court on Monday expecting that two juries would be selected for two separate trials scheduled to take place this week.

However, a defendant in the second trial pleaded guilty to all charges against him. The Crown offered no evidence against a co-defendant, so there was no need for a trial.

Jurors not selected for the first trial were therefore directed to return for another matter on 18 January.

Proceedings in Court 1 began around 10.41 am, with Mr. Justice Dale Sanderson apologising for the delay. One reason, apparently, was the intermittent appearances of an air conditioning technician, with the system fixed just before court started.

The first case was that of Sheldon Marquiss Brown, accused of attempted murder.

Jury selection took less than half an hour, with the Prosecution challenging four persons whose numbers were drawn. The Defence challenged three persons and the judge excused two.

At 11.09 am Mr. Justice Sanderson directed remaining jurors to report to Court 5 in Kirk House for selection for the second trial.

There, at 11.50 am, Crown Counsel Gail Johnson advised Mr. Justice Alexander Henderson that the defendants had not been arraigned.

Eight charges of obtaining property by deception were then put to Dyke Green and a co-defendant. Green pleaded guilty to all charges; the co-defendant pleaded not guilty.

Ms Johnson said the pleas were acceptable because Dyke Green had done the physical acts of obtaining bank drafts by deception. He admitted obtaining eight drafts at Cayman National Bank in June 2002 by falsely representing that a named account had sufficient funds to cover the drafts. The drafts totalled $38,448.

The co-defendant had been a signatory on the account.

Mr. Justice Henderson summarised for the jurors what had happened. With one defendant pleading guilty and the other acquitted, ‘it follows that we do not need your assistance today,’ he told them.

Sentencing was adjourned until 24 February so that a social inquiry report could be prepared. Defence Attorney Clyde Allen advised that Green was of good character before this incident, so the judge allowed his bail to continue.

It is expected that the background to the offences will be set out on the date of sentencing.

Meanwhile, back in Court 1, the jury of five women and two men was excused until Tuesday morning.

At the opening of Grand Court last week, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie had announced that two trials would be scheduled simultaneously for the next six months in order to deal with a backlog.