“In his cups” when arrested; murder trial nears end
Devon Anglin was hopelessly drunk when arrested one hour and 20 minutes after Jeremiah Barnes was fatally shot, Defence Attorney John Ryder told the court on Wednesday as Anglin’s trial for murder neared its end.
Mr. Ryder was commenting on police officers’ written statements, which Prosecutor Andrew Radcliffe wanted to have exhibited as part of the Crown’s case.
Toward the end of the day, Mr. Ryder advised the court he had final instruction from his client that he would not be giving evidence.
Justice Howard Cooke, who is hearing the matter without a jury, has already received evidence that Jeremiah, four, was killed at Hell service station moments before 8pm on 15 February, 2010, while in the back seat of a vehicle operated by his father, Andy Barnes.
There has also been evidence that Anglin, 25, was taking a shower at his cousin’s house around 9pm. He was arrested at 9.20pm after Jeremiah’s parents named him as the shooter.
Mr. Ryder quoted one officer who described Anglin as highly intoxicated, with glazed eyes, slurred speech and being “unsteady on his feet as he was stumbling into me”. He argued that nothing Anglin said at the time of his arrest nor later at the police station should be admitted as part of the evidence.
“This was a drunken man babbling,” he said. It would not be fair to use something a man has said when not in possession of his faculties, he urged.
Mr. Radcliffe said for such a submission to succeed there would have to be evidence that Anglin was incapable. Justice Cooke asked if the furthest he would go would be to say Anglin was “in his cups”. Mr. Radcliffe agreed and, on that basis, the judge indicated that Anglin’s condition would be a factor in determining what weight to give to what he said.
With numerous statements handed up as exhibits, their contents were not read into the record. The judge will be reading them as he considers all of the evidence in the case.
Mr. Radcliffe did comment on some of the statements and responded to the judge’s questions. He noted, for example, that Anglin had signed the seals on his interview tapes with his left hand. When the officer asked if he were left-handed, he answered, “I use both hands.”
The judge pointed out that several witnesses had said the shooter had the gun in his right hand. Mr. Radcliffe replied that the video recording from the service station’s CCTV showed the gun in the shooter’s left hand.
He advised that the taped interviews contained mostly “no comment” answers, but there were two specific denials as to shooting or presence at the scene of the shooting.
Justice Cooke asked about legislation in Cayman as to the judicial approach to the interview. Mr. Radcliffe explained that Cayman now has a law that did not exist at the time of the shooting (Caymanian Compass, 15 September 2010). The judge therefore would not draw any adverse inference from the Anglin’s interview: “It remains his right not to answer.”
The final Crown witness on Wednesday was Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kennett, the officer in charge of the investigation. He said he took statements from Jeremiah’s parents the night of the shooting and later witnessed the post mortem examination carried out by forensic pathologist Bruce Hyma. He conducted briefings with officers every morning and insisted that all officers engaged in the inquiry keep an open mind.
Mr. Kennett noted that not only did Anglin sign his interview tapes with his left hand, he also reached with his left hand for papers handed to him.
At the end of his evidence, Justice Cooke told Mr. Kennett that, however the case turned out, he could say the investigation had been exhaustive and pains-taking; no investigative tool that could have been employed was not employed and no stone was left unturned.
The court was then advised that there might be a final Crown witness called on Thursday morning, after which evidence agreed on by both the Crown and Defence would be handed in.
It was then expected that both Mr. Radcliffe and Mr. Ryder would present their closing speeches.
There are no rules in a judge-alone trial that govern when the verdict is delivered.