Police review evidence disclosure

Concerns raised recently in a Grand Court attempted murder trial about whether a police investigator bothered to inform attorneys about all available evidence in the case will be reviewed by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

‘The (RCIPS) has been made aware of concerns raised in court and will be looking into the matter,’ read a one-sentence statement from Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis.

Police officials did not state whether there would be a formal department investigation, and refused to make any further comments on the issue.

The matter revolves around video from a surveillance camera outside Pepper’s night club that was taken in the early morning hours of 23 February around the time 26-year-old Gary Oliver was shot in the face in the parking lot of the club.

A suspect, 22-year-old Devon Anglin, was charged in the shooting but was later cleared after Justice Charles Quin ruled that evidence against Mr. Anglin was weak and inconsistent. Justice Quin said, as a matter of law, the evidence against Mr. Anglin was such that a properly directed jury could not vote to convict based upon it.

The video, according to trial testimony (see Caymanian Compass, 13 August) did not show anyone firing a gun, but it did show the night club door and those entering and exiting the business around the time of the shooting.

Crown prosecutors weren’t told the footage existed until the attempted murder trial had already started, even though police officers investigating the case had viewed it and showed it to a witness.

RCIPS Inspector Malcom Kay, the senior investigating officer on the case, was questioned during trial about the video footage.

He told the court he had forgotten about the video, and admitted that he told Crown counsel before the trial started that no video existed.

Inspector Kay said during the trial that he had viewed the video footage from a camera that was taken between the hours of 2am and 3am on 23 February. A police sergeant who had viewed the tape earlier informed Mr. Kay that he had not seen anything that would be of evidential value.

Court proceedings revealed that Inspector Kay also personally reviewed a copy, but that the video he viewed was at twice the normal speed.

The police sergeant who viewed the initial recording saved an hour of the video footage, from 2am-3am, on a disc. Mr. Kay told the court that police eventually decided to go back and look at an earlier point on the video, between 10pm-2am, to see pedestrian traffic in and out of the club. However, officers were unable to recapture the footage even though it had been recorded and was not deleted.

The court was told that a software provider, who had suggested the department outsource the job of recovering the video footage, had asked to be paid $250 an hour for performing that service. Police had initially suggested that arrangements be made to recover the data, but that never actually happened.

Mr. Kay noted during the trial that he was dealing with four separate attempted murder cases that had occurred within two weeks of each other at the time of Mr. Oliver’s shooting.

Crown Counsel Nicola Moore had sent e-mails requesting the video footage from the incident at Pepper’s, but the inspector said he had simply forgotten it had been saved on a disc.

Defence attorneys filed a motion seeking to have the attempted murder trial stopped claiming Inspector Kay failed to initially disclose the existence of the video recording. Justice Quin denied the motion and allowed the trial to continue. However, he acknowledged that Mr. Kay was neglectful in the matter, though he did not find that the inspector had been dishonest with the court.