Defence attorney outlines his case

The Crown closed its case against Sheldon Brown on Tuesday morning, with the last evidence being the criminal conviction record of the complainant, James Fernando Martin.

Martin gave evidence and named the defendant as the person who shot him on the night of 17 August 2004 (See yesterday’s Caymanian Compass).

After the police officer in charge of records submitted his evidence, Andrew Radcliffe QC told the jury, ‘That’s the Crown’s case.’

Then Paul Purnell QC rose and said that now was the chance for the Defence to present its case. He explained that there were three elements to the case on behalf of the defendant.

The first element pertained to Sheldon Brown himself: what he was doing, what happened when he was arrested; his background and relationship with the police.

The second element, Mr. Purnell said concerns the value of any gunshot residue evidence. He said the Defence had an expert who is a respected authority on that subject. This expert would contradict many of the propositions put forward by the expert for the Crown.

The third element of the Defence case will be alibi.

Mr. Purnell also made several comments about the complainant, Fernando Martin, describing him as a man with a grudge against Brown.

The jury has heard that Martin had accused Brown of threatening him in February 2004. Brown represented himself in his trial and was acquitted on 3 August 2004. Having achieved his acquittal, would he have a motive to go against the man he had defeated? Mr. Purnell asked.

In the circumstances, all the motive tended to be with Martin, not with Brown, he suggested.

He said the Prosecution had dreamed up a motive which did not make sense, while it was apparent that there were other people Martin had given police statements about. Those people had the strongest motives, he said.

Sheldon Brown is a man with many convictions including firearms, but not recently, Mr. Purnell advised. The Defence was not trying to hide them. But the jury’s function to go by the evidence is absolutely paramount, he reminded members.

When the Crown first opened the case for the Prosecution, Mr. Radcliffe had suggested that the motive for the shooting was probably two-fold: revenge for Martin having caused Brown to be arrested, charged and kept in custody for the alleged threat; it might be that it was intended to prevent Martin from giving evidence against two other people.

Mr. Radcliffe also said that any motive such as robbery could be excluded, since Martin’s wallet was on the floor of his room and $81 was scattered.

Martin was being lodged at the Cayman Islander Hotel as part of a witness protection plan. Whoever shot him had found out where he was, Mr. Radcliffe told the jury. The Crown’s case was that it was Sheldon Brown.

Mr. Radcliffe is instructed by Senior Crown Counsel Adam Roberts. Mr. Purnell is instructed for the Defence by Attorney James Austin-Smith.