Editor’s note: www.caycompass.com is no longer posting comments on this
story because of the potential of a Crown appeal keeping the matter
before the court.
Devon Anglin was found not
guilty Wednesday of murdering Jeremiah Barnes at the Hell Service Station
in West Bay on the night of 15 February, 2010.
Jeremiah was killed by a single bullet to
his head when shots were fired at the vehicle being driven by his father, Andy
Justice Howard Cooke delivered his
judgment just after 4pm Wednesday.
He found that the visual identification of Anglin by Jeremiah’s parents to be unreliable. Mr. Barnes had contradicted what he said in the preliminary inquiry as to when he saw Anglin, the judge said. Mr. Barnes’ description of the gunman was contradicted by CCTV. The judge said Mrs. Barnes “at best” had a fleeting glance of the gunman before ducking from gunfire. Both said they recognised Anglin’s face and both said the gunman was right-handed, whereas the CCTV showed him to be left-handed.
The judge said he found pump attendant Carlos Ebanks to be a witness of truth; Mr. Ebanks told the court that the person he saw approaching was wearing a Halloween mask that covered the whole face.
The judge concluded that the effect of the identification evidence was that the Crown had not adduced evidence of any probative value which would permit him to look at any supporting evidence.
Mr. Justice Cooke also found Anglin not
guilty on attempted murder and possession of an unlicenced firearm charges in
relation to the gas station shooting.
Anglin was also found not guilty in
relation to a separate incident at Batabano Plaza on 30 January, 2010 where he
was charged with possession of an imitation firearm and threatening Mr.
Barnes with violence.
The judge described evidence regarding the 30 January
incident as muddled and confused. He said he could not be clear on what actually
The verdict hit the Barnes family hard.
Jeremiah’s grandmother, Dora Ebanks, said she “wasn’t surprised” by
“This is the way things work with the
system,” Ms Ebanks said. “I fully believe Jeremiah’s parents
about what they said they saw, even though it happened quickly. I am not
surprised and as a result, it’s not a disappointment.”
Anglin’s mother, Katina said she was
“quite relieved” by the judgment.
“The judge’s summation proved my son
was not the killer,” she said. “My condolences go out to the parents
and family of Jeremiah Barnes. The evidence in the court room only ascertained
that my son could not have been the killer.”
The police officer who headed the
investigation into the fatal shooting expressed sadness Anglin was found
not guilty of murdering the boy.
Peter Kennett, who retired earlier this
year from his post as Detective Chief Inspector, said “I am very sad for
Jeremiah’s parents, Dorlisa and Andy Barnes, with this not guilty verdict. They
witnessed the tragic murder of their beautiful four year old son and have
always been totally adamant that Devon Anglin, a man they knew extremely well,
was the person who fired the gun at their vehicle at Hell Service Station.
“The corroborating evidence of enhanced
CCTV images, gunshot residue, changing clothes and showering immediately after
the murder were insufficient for the learned judge to convict,” he summarised.
He was referring to Justice Howard Cooke, who heard the matter without a
jury, as Anglin elected.
Mr. Kennett said he could not speak for the
Commissioner of Police because he is no longer employed by the Royal Cayman
islands Police Service, but he expressed doubt that the inquiry would be
re-opened, “especially as the judge commended the investigation team for their
thoroughness and professionalism.”
He concluded: “This is quite the saddest
moment in my 40-plus years of policing both here and in the UK.”
Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll
Richards said the Crown would conduct a review of Mr. Justice Cooke’s judgment
“urgently” to determine if there were any grounds for appeal.
Please see Friday’s Caymanian Compass for
full details on this story…