Anonymous witness gives evidence in murder trial
Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, defendant Devon Anglin, court staff and attorneys visited the former Next Level Night Club on Thursday after a Crown witness said he saw Anglin shoot Carlo Webster at the club on the night of 9 September, 2009.
Anglin, who is charged with murder, earlier elected trial by judge alone. He is represented by attorneys Dorian Lovell-Pank and Lucy Organ. After the Crown’s first witness gave evidence on Thursday morning, but before he was cross-examined, defence attorneys invited the judge to view the premises where the shooting occurred. They suggested that a drawn-to-scale floor plan and a book of photographs could not give a feel of the place or its actual size.
Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards said she had visited the scene and agreed it would be helpful to the judge. She indicated the management had been very co-operative in agreeing to visits.
Retired Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kennett conducted the tour of the site that afternoon. He advised the name of the club has changed since the shooting. He led the party through the main door into an admission area where, he said, security checks took place. Inside, he pointed out the locations of various CCTV cameras and noted what physical alterations had been made since 2009. Anglin, accompanied by prison officers, followed along in handcuffs and ankle cuffs. Police officers also attended the scene.
The group spent some time in and around the male restroom. The only discussion was about the layout and lighting. Since the visit was part of court proceedings, no photographs were allowed. After the site visit, trial resumed in Courtroom 2, where electronic equipment has been set up to allow anonymous witnesses to give evidence from undisclosed locations.
In August, the Crown applied for permission to have two witnesses give their evidence under provisions of The Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Law, passed in 2010. After a hearing, Justice Charles Quin signed the required order.
Courtroom equipment includes television monitors, but for this trial the only video link is to the judge’s bench; no one else sees the witness. The judge and court stenographer wear head phones in order to hear the speaker’s natural voice. Everyone else in the courtroom hears a modulated voice – altered in pitch and tone – but easy to understand.
The Chief Justice directed that the first person giving evidence would be referred to only as Witness B and the pronouns he and she would both be used when referring to the witness, so there was no identification of his or her gender. To avoid confusion, the Caymanian Compass will use masculine pronouns for all anonymous witnesses.
Witness B said he knew Anglin and Carlo Webster. His evidence was that on the night of the incident, he saw an exchange between Anglin and another man near the main bar. Anglin punched the other man and then kicked him when he fell to the ground. He said security took the other man out. Then Carlo Webster walked up to Anglin and punched him in his face. He said Anglin walked to the male restroom. Carlo was going toward the restroom, but was stopped by a girl and they talked. The witness said he was dancing at the time and saw Anglin walk out of the restroom, take a gun from his waist, point it at Carlo Webster and start shooting.
He said Carlo grabbed his side and fell. There was a second shot and then Anglin walked up to Carlo and there was third shot. The shots were right after each other, occurring within about five seconds. Afterward, everybody started running and Anglin started walking to an exit door.
Questioned by Mr. Lovell-Pank, Witness B replied, “Yes, sir” when asked: “So when the gun was fired it was fired from within a group of people?”
Several men who gave evidence in person on Friday said Carlo Webster did go into the male restroom.
One man said Anglin was at a sink washing blood off of his face. He said Carlo was there talking, but nobody seemed to pay him any attention. Carlo was saying, “You dis the wrong man” but the witness did not know who Carlo was talking to and did not know if Anglin could have heard him.
The court has been told that Carlo left the restroom before Anglin did.
Another anonymous witness was scheduled to give evidence via audio link on Monday.