Defense in Bise case decries murder ‘theory’

Chad Anglin, on trial for the murder of Swiss Banker Frederic Bise, opted last week not to give evidence in the case.

Prosecution and defense lawyers have wrapped up their cases and Justice Alexander Henderson is scheduled to instruct the jury on Tuesday concerning the legal principles involved in the trial.

Anglin, 34, is charged with another person for the murder of Mr. Bise in February 2008 in West Bay.

The crown opened its case on May 7, saying that the killing of the banker may have been related to a robbery, a hate crime against homosexuals, or a sexual act.

The jurors – two men and 10 women – heard addresses on Friday from both the prosecution and defense after Anglin elected not to give evidence.

Before the addresses, Justice Henderson asked defense counsel Jonathan Rees QC in the presence of the jury if Anglin was aware that the stage of the trial had been reached at which evidence could be given for the defense. Mr. Rees indicated that Anglin was aware.

The judge then asked if Anglin was aware that he could give evidence if he wished to do so; if he chose not to give evidence, or if he refused to answer any question without good reason after being sworn, it would be permissible for the jury to draw “such inferences as appear proper” from his failure to give evidence or answer questions.

Mr. Rees said Anglin had been fully advised as to the law that applied.

Simon Russell Flint QC then addressed the jury and summarized the crown’s case, reminding them of the evidence they had heard and seen. This included CCTV from a jerk chicken stand on the night of Feb. 7, 2008, which showed interaction between Mr. Bise and the defendant. Witnesses said the two left in Mr. Bise’s car.

On the evidence, Anglin was the last person to see Mr. Bise alive, Mr. Russell Flint pointed out. The next morning, Mr. Bise’s body was found in the trunk of his burnt car. Accelerant had been used in the front passenger seat footwell to destroy any evidence of who had sat there, the attorney said.

He said Anglin had brought clothing to police which he said he had worn the night Mr. Bise died, but it turned out he had been wearing something else.

Speaking on behalf of Anglin, Mr. Rees suggested that the crown’s case was like a jigsaw puzzle with important pieces missing. They could not say who killed Mr. Bise, or where, or why, or with what weapon. “This courtroom is no place for theory,” he declared.

Mr. Rees reminded jurors of the evidence of Anglin’s alleged confession to a girl who was 15 at the time. She had been with him overnight. When he heard police were looking for her, the girl said, he threatened he would do her something if she called his name. He also told her he was accused of the murder of the gay man.

That was all that was said about his connection with the murder, the attorney emphasized. The way Anglin spoke to the girl was not attractive, he acknowledged, but it was not a confession.

There was no doubt that Anglin made a number of false statements to police, but there was nothing unusual about the way his account developed because he was responding to the questions police were putting to him, Mr. Rees said. Lies alone could not prove the case against Anglin, even if they were bound to arouse suspicion, he said.

Anglin eventually admitted getting into Mr. Bise’s car and going to where he lived because Mr. Bise was getting money with which to purchase ganja. Anglin said he smoked a cigarette while waiting and then Mr. Bise drove him to his house, where he got the ganja. Mr. Bise did not get out of his car; after Anglin handed him the ganja, he drove off, Mr. Rees said.

Phone evidence showed that at 2:25 a.m., Mr. Bise was “alive and well and looking for someone to have sex with,” Mr. Rees noted.

A component of DNA taken from Mr. Bise’s body did not match either Mr. Bise’s or Anglin’s profile, he said. An open can of lubricant and an ashtray with cigarettes were found in the pool area of the house where Mr. Bise lived, but no DNA of Anglin’s was found in the area of the pool.

The prosecution’s case was that Anglin had acted with another person. But Mr. Rees reminded jurors that the pathologist said the injuries to Mr. Bise could have been inflicted by one person.

Mr. Bise had many good qualities, but he was a man whose sexual appetite made him vulnerable and the tragedy of his death would be compounded if the wrong person were convicted of the crime, Mr. Rees said. The prosecution’s theory was a complete work of fiction, he argued.

The police did not have enough evidence against Anglin in 2008; six years later, “it still isn’t enough,” Mr. Rees concluded.

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