Lawyer claims police interview of Marlon Dillon breached Judges’ Rules
The evidence of Crown witness Marlon Dillon should not have been admitted in the trial of men charged with the WestStar robbery, attorney Anthony Akiwumi argued on Thursday.
He was appealing the conviction of Andre Burton after senior counsel James Curtis concluded his submissions on behalf of David Tamasa. Dillon gave evidence against them after pleading guilty to his own involvement. Both men were found guilty and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment after trial by judge alone.
Mr. Akiwumi said police officers interviewing Dillon had breached the Judges’ Rules, which are guidelines for how suspects are to be dealt with. The question was whether what the officers did affected the integrity of the judicial process.
Justice Alastair Malcolm, the trial judge, ruled that the actions of the police did not come anywhere near acts that offend the court’s conscience regarding the rules of law.
In the WestStar trial, Dillon had told the court that he felt betrayed by the police. Asked by Mr. Akiwumi if he had thought he would be moved out of the jurisdiction, he replied, “That was the promise made to me and my wife.”
He said that meeting with police was not tape-recorded and he did not recall anyone making notes.
Mr. Akiwumi said it appeared that Dillon was being held in protective custody away from Northward Prison to keep him separated from his enemies “and he was terrified he would be transferred to Northward.”
The attorney pointed to Dillon’s own evidence that he was put under a lot of pressure by interviewing officers. He had never been interviewed before and did not have any knowledge about having a lawyer present. He said he had signed certain statements without reading them all the way through because they were all given to him at the same time and he was tired at the end of a long day.
Asked during the trial if he had received favorable treatment, Dillon said he had been locked up 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a year and four months in a 5-foot-by-8-foot cell, in solitary confinement, with dirty bedding that caused lumps on his skin.
Dillon agreed that the commissioner of police had visited him four or five times to give him “a welfare check” and ask how he was coping. After the visits, Dillon did get his clothes and bedding washed.
On behalf of the Department of Public Prosecutions, senior counsel Simon Dennison began responding to the appellants on Thursday afternoon. He pointed out that the trial judge had the opportunity to see and hear Dillon and judge his credibility.
It was noted earlier that Justice Malcolm had stated in his verdicts that it would be dangerous to accept Dillon’s evidence unless he found some support for it from other evidence.