Devon Anglin had been acquitted in ‘judge alone’ trial for murder of 4-year-old boy
The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has ordered a retrial in the matter of Devon Anglin, who was acquitted in 2011 of murdering 4-year-old Jeremiah Barnes.
Court president Sir John Chadwick said the judge, who heard the original case without a jury, had made a decision that was erroneous on a point of law. The court therefore set aside the acquittal and sent the matter back to Grand Court to be retried.
Sir John summarized the background to the charge, noting that Jeremiah was shot and killed by a gunman on the evening of Feb. 15, 2010 at the Hell Service Station in West Bay.
His father was in the driver’s seat, his mother was in the front passenger seat, and Jeremiah was in the back seat behind his father. The common assumption was that the shooter’s intention was to kill or seriously injure Jeremiah’s father, Andy Barnes, but the bullet went past him and struck the boy, the court had heard.
The only issue at trial was the identity of the shooter. Both parents identified Anglin as the gunman. There was other evidence, including closed circuit TV, evidence linking Anglin with a car, gunshot residue, and evidence of people who saw and spoke to Anglin after the shooting.
The trial judge – Justice Howard Cooke – said the evidence of the parents was not of any probative value at all. Having reached that conclusion, he held that he was not permitted to consider the other evidence and he did not do so.
On that basis, he handed down the verdict of acquittal. Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards appealed that verdict.
Sir John said the trial judge erred in law because he ought to have considered the whole of the evidence before reaching a conclusion.
Sir John emphasized that it was not for the judges of the Court of Appeal to reach any conclusion regarding Anglin’s guilt or innocence and they did not do so. Their task had been to reach a decision as to whether the trial judge had erred in law.
He said it was a matter of regret that the court’s ruling had taken more than a year to be delivered after arguments were heard in April 2013. He accepted responsibility for the delay and apologized.
He had heard the appeal with Justice Ian Forte, now retired, and Justice Elliott Mottley.
The appeal was argued by Andrew Radcliffe and Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees. Responding on behalf of Anglin were attorneys John Ryder and Lucy Organ.