A decision is likely on July 24 in Chad Anglin’s appeal of his conviction for the 2008 murder of Swiss banker Frederic Bise.
The Court of Appeal heard the arguments last week.
A jury found Anglin guilty in May 2014. Mr. Bise’s body was found in the trunk of his car parked outside his residence on the morning of Feb. 8, 2008; he had sustained multiple injuries including a fractured skull and possible strangulation. The car had been set on fire.
In opening the case to the jury, prosecutor Simon Russell Flint said the killing may have been related to a robbery, a hate crime against homosexuals or a sexual act.
Anglin’s appeal was argued by Jonathan Rees, who defended him at his Grand Court trial. He submitted to the higher court that the failure of police to caution Anglin before he spoke to them amounted to a significant breach of his right to silence and his right not to incriminate himself.
Mr. Rees said this statement should not have been admitted into evidence, but Justice Alexander Henderson had permitted it. Anglin then had to deal with things he would not have said if he had been cautioned.
He should have been told that he had the right to remain silent and anything he said could be used in evidence against him. Mr. Rees said the key point was that when Anglin chose to speak, it was not an informed choice.
Mr. Rees invited the judges to conclude that they could not be sure Anglin would have given an account if he had been told that what he said might be used against him.
Justice Richard Field pointed out that Anglin must have known because he had been arrested previously some 43 times.
Mr. Rees indicated that argument went both ways – on the one occasion Anglin wasn’t cautioned, he may well have thought that what he was saying had something less than evidential status. The judge had found that there was bad faith on the part of the police and the failure to caution was deliberate, not accidental.
Mr. Rees referred to a well-known legal argument – that people often tell lies for reasons that have nothing to do with guilt; for example, they may be protecting someone or they may not want to get involved or they might want to distance themselves from the event. Mr. Rees said the reason Anglin was interacting with Mr. Bise that evening was regarding a drug deal, which of course Anglin did not want to admit.
He did say this when interviewed again in 2013, so a jury might think that if this account is true, why didn’t he tell police in 2008? In a later interview in 2008, he had a lawyer present and he did exercise his right to silence.
Mr. Rees said that when the judge summed up to the jurors, he did not direct them on the right to silence, and he should have told them they were not to infer anything from Anglin’s silence.
In reply, Mr. Russell Flint, pointed out that as a result of Anglin’s conversation with police in 2008, he was free and at liberty for a further five years until the “cold case” was reinvestigated. Anglin had wanted to distance himself from the murder “and he did so thoroughly and effectively so that no charges followed.”
He said Justice Henderson had decided that this was not one of those cases in which it would be unfair to admit a statement that had been made before caution; Anglin wanted his statement taken into account.
Mr. Russell Flint said the trial judge had found that the statement was voluntary, despite the breach of rules.
Mr. Russell Flint also said there were no grounds for the conclusion that the conviction was in any way unsafe.