During closing speeches on Friday,
Kirkland Henry’s attorney cited legal principles that made his client not
guilty of murder, while Larry Ricketts’ attorney said phone records and other facts
of the case showed his client was not guilty.
The defence counsellors were
responding to submissions by Solicitor General Cheryll Richards QC. Ms Richards
said the defendants were both guilty of murdering Estella Scott Roberts in an
isolated area of West Bay on the night of 10 October, 2008.
Chief Justice Anthony Smellie
thanked all counsel and said he expected to announce his verdict on Friday, 19
In her summary, Ms Richards said Henry
and Ricketts acted together as part of a joint enterprise. Either both men were
principals or one was the principal and the other an accessory.
The murder occurred after Mrs.
Scott Roberts was abducted at the rear of a parking lot between Deckers Restaurant
and Buckingham Square
on West Bay Road.
She had been to a “girls’ night out” celebration of her birthday.
Before the trial for murder began,
Henry pleaded guilty to abduction,
rape and robbery. In his statement to police, which was read into evidence, he
named Ricketts as the man who also abducted, raped and robbed their victim. Henry said Ricketts killed her.
The allegations of Henry against
Ricketts are not evidence, but they did provide the basis for questions police put
to Ricketts, his attorney Robert Fortune said.
Ricketts has pleaded not guilty to
all charges. An interview has been accepted into evidence in which he admitted
killing Estella and burning her vehicle with her body in it. However, Ricketts took
the stand and retracted that interview, saying police had put into it what they
Mr. Fortune accepted that Ricketts’
signed interview was a weakness in the defence case. “But it is not unknown for
people to buckle under pressure and sign things they later regret,” he told the
If only there had been a tape-recorded
interview, he lamented. Not just for Ricketts’ benefit, but for the police
officers themselves, so that suggestions could not be made that officers had inserted
information from Henry’s interview into Ricketts’ interview.
Mr. Fortune said it all started
with Henry and the regrettably uncritical way in which it appeared police
accepted Henry’s account. All sides agreed that Henry had an accomplice: Why
did Henry identify Ricketts instead of his true accomplice?
The attorney pointed to three
aspects of telephone records that showed Ricketts was not involved.
First, Henry told police that after
Ricketts and he had sex with the lady they had abducted, and before she was
killed, Ricketts spent 10 to 15 minutes on a phone call.
But Ricketts’ phone showed no
outgoing calls between 8.09pm Friday and 8.28am Saturday. His incoming calls
during that same period were at 8.53pm, 2am and 8am. The 2am call was from
Henry and lasted seven seconds.
The records show no scope for
Ricketts to be on the phone for 10-15 minutes, Mr. Fortune said. If Henry is
wrong about that, Ricketts wasn’t with him, but Henry’s true accomplice was on
the phone for 10-15 minutes. Because Henry did not take the stand to give
evidence, Mr. Fortune could not question him.
The attorney dismissed the
explanation for the 2am call from Henry. It was said that Henry had walked away
from where Ricketts drove Estella’s car with her body in it. After Ricketts set
the car on fire, Henry phoned him to tell him to hurry.
Mr. Fortune suggested Henry was in
fact phoning Ricketts to ask him to get his van and pick him up. But Ricketts
was home in George Town,
Cell site data for Ricketts and
Henry’s phone was of critical importance in this case. It was regrettable that
such evidence could not be obtained, the attorney commented.
But cell site records for a
Blackberry owned by Estella had been obtained and they showed the phone moving
from West Bay
to George Town between
7am and 7.32am on Saturday.
Meanwhile, cameras at Cayman
National Bank on Elgin Avenue
had captured the image of Ricketts trying to use Estella’s bank card at an ATM
machine at 6.32am.
How could Ricketts be in George
Town at 6.32, get up to West Bay by 7, come back down to George Town by 7.32
and be back in West Bay for work at 8am, the attorney asked. It did not make
sense. The question was: who had possession of the phone as it was being moved?
Ricketts’ use of Estella’s bank
card, which he said he got from Henry, was wrong, Mr. Fortune acknowledged, but
there was a world of difference between opportunistic offending and vile crime.
On behalf of Henry, Ian Bourne said
his client never joined a joint enterprise that countenanced murder as a
probable consequence. Even if he did, the attorney argued, Henry withdrew from
Mr. Bourne said after both men had
sex with their victim, she was taken
down to the sea to wash. It was only then that Ricketts said she would have to
be killed so that she did not identify them. “Henry told him not to do it and
tried to reason with him without success. Having failed to persuade him not to
carry out his intention, Henry walked away,” the attorney submitted.
Since Henry had admitted taking
part in the joint enterprise for abduction,
rape and robbery, it was for the judge to decide whether the scope of the joint
enterprise necessarily meant that Henry was liable for the unexpected act of murder
by the principal offender.
Ms Richards pointed out that Henry
had described how Ricketts put a bag over the victim’s
head and taped it, so that she suffocated. “This is not a man who says ‘I am
not helping you’ and goes away. This is a man who stands there watching…and the
lady is struggling.”
Henry said he did not help, but he
did not try to stop Ricketts and he did not assist the deceased, Ms Richards argued.
Henry did not disassociate himself from the acts of the co-accused.