No reasons yet in murder appeal

Josue Perez still in custody

No reasons have been handed down,
as of Friday, for the Court of Appeal’s decision to grant a Crown appeal
against the acquittal of Josue Carillo Perez for the murder of Martin Gareau in
may 2008.

Perez was remanded in custody last
Monday evening after sitting in all court all day listening as Attorney Anthony
Akiwumi responded to arguments by David Perry QC as to why Justice Roy
Anderson’s not guilty verdict should be overturned.

When court president Sir John Chadwick
announced that the court was satisfied the Crown’s appeal should be allowed, he
added that the three-judge panel was also satisfied the matter should be
remitted to Grand court for trial as soon as possible.

Senior Crown Counsel Trevor Ward
asked that Perez be taken into custody forthwith. Justice Ian Forte asked if
the court could order that Perez be taken before a Grand Court within a certain time so that
bail could be applied for. Mr. Ward agreed.

Mr. Akiwumi pointed out that Perez
had attended court that day voluntarily. Further, he had been found not guilty
in October 2009; he knew since November that the Crown was appealing. “He could
have left a long time ago.” Mr. Akiwumi said that calling Perez, a Honduran
national with Cayman connections, a
flight risk was utterly preposterous.

“There is also the question of
leave to appeal to Privy Council,” Mr. Akiwumi added.

But Sir John reminded him that he
could not appeal until he knew the Court of Appeal’s reasons for its decision.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Akiwumi and
Mr. Ward appeared before Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in his chambers. That
session was not open to the public.

Afterwards Mr. Akiwumi told reporters
bail had been denied for Perez.“He is remanded
in custody for now pending a determination by the Privy Council of his
application for leave to appeal and a stay of proceedings in the Cayman Islands.”

Section 32 of the Criminal Procedure Code refers to persons
convicted or acquitted not being tried again for the same offence, but there is
an important clause in the provision.

“A
person who has been once tried by a court or an offence and acquitted or
convicted of such offence, while such acquittal or conviction
has not been reversed or set aside, shall not be liable to be tried again on
the same facts fir the same offence.”

The
Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has now set the acquittal aside. The effect is
as if the trial had not taken place.

The
Crown had appealed the trial judge’s decision on the basis that he had
misdirected himself as to the standard of proof in cases of murder (describing
it as “enhanced”), that he had permitted himself to speculate; and that he had
not adequately explained his reasons for finding Perez not guilty.

Martin
Gareau, a Canadian national, had been working in Cayman since shortly after Hurricane
Ivan in September 2004. His body was found in the garage of his Beach Bay
home after the long holiday weekend in May 2008.

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