Three acquitted of murdering Omar Samuels
Patrick McField and Brandon Leslie Ebanks were released from
custody around 4pm Tuesday after they and Osbourne Douglas had their convictions
for murder overturned.
The three had been accused of murdering Omar Barton Samuels
in July 2009. They were convicted after trial by jury in September 2010. The
Court of Appeal heard arguments on their behalf Monday and Tuesday.
Osbourne Douglas was not released from custody, but was
arrested. His attorney, Clyde Allen, told reporters he did not know the details
of the charge. He said he had been told that his client would be interviewed by
police on Wednesday.
The decision of the Court of Appeal was announced by Sir John
Chadwick, court president. He said the trial judge, Justice Charles Quin, erred
in law when he failed to withdraw the case from the jury following defence
submissions of “no case to answer” after the prosecution had finished presenting
all of its evidence.
Attorney Trevor Burke made the argument first, on behalf of
McField. He submitted that the Crown’s two main witnesses gave a version of
events that was inconsistent with the physical evidence.
He said the forensic evidence that the shooting of Omar
Samuels occurred in one area was so strong that no jury properly directed could
believe it happened in another area.
He quoted a well-known principle: Where the judge comes to
the conclusion that the prosecution evidence, taken at its highest, is such that
a jury properly directed could not properly convict upon it, it is his duty to
stop the case when such a submission is made.
Mr. Burke was assisted by Attorney Ben Tonner.
The other attorneys adopted his basic argument and added
points specific to their client.
Ebanks was represented by Attorneys Nicholas Rhodes and Nick
Hearing the appeal with Justice Chadwick were Justices Elliot
Mottley and A. Campbell.