Second man charged in killing that started gang war

A Jamaican man was charged Friday in connection with a September 2011 shooting death that tipped off a brief, but bloody gang war on Grand Cayman.

The 34-year-old, currently imprisoned at Northward Prison, has been charged in the murder of Robert Mackford Bush. He is expected to appear in court soon.

The other man charged in the killing, Brian Emmanuel Borden, is due to go on trial in January.

Mr. Bush was shot to death in West Bay on Sept. 13, 2011. Two days later, in what local police said at the time was at least potentially a retaliatory shooting for that killing, Andrew Baptist, 24, was gunned down.

Three more murders followed, with one occurring in West Bay, one in George Town and one in East End. The shootings occurred within 10 days of one another.

The Borden trial has grabbed media attention as it involves a first-of-its-kind challenge filed under the Cayman Islands Bill of Rights.

Lawyers filed a petition on June 21 on behalf of Borden stating that the Cayman Islands Bail Law (2010 Revision) is incompatible with the 2009 Constitution Order’s Bill of Rights.

Borden appeared in Grand Court in September 2012 seeking to be released on bail prior to trial, but was denied. His initial trial date of June 18, 2013 was pushed back to Jan. 20, 2014 due to other court-related scheduling issues.

“Should [Borden] remain remanded in custody, he shall have been held for a period of one year and five months before his trial commences,” the petition filed by Priestly’s law firm read.

The petition also seeks a declaration that Borden’s detention was unlawful under the Constitution.

“His right to liberty cannot [be] abrogated arbitrarily and must be subject to judicial discretion,” the petition stated.

Cayman’s bail law, in section 17[2], specifically sets out that anyone accused or convicted or murder “is not entitled to bail.”

Article 5 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order’s Bill of Rights states that any person who is arrested or detained on suspicion of having committed a criminal offense “shall be brought promptly before a court.” If an arrested or detained person is not tried within a reasonable time he or she shall … “be released either unconditionally or on reasonable conditions,” including bail.

The petition claims the decision to hold Borden until next year’s trial unlawfully interferes with the presumption of innocence in criminal cases and is inconsistent with previous European courts’ rulings. It also states that the decision “unlawfully and irreconcilably” adds an arbitrary ground for refusing admittance to bail.

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