Closing speeches conclude in retrial of child murder case
Justice Charles Quin has scheduled Jan. 19 as the date to deliver his judgment in the trial of Devon Anglin, who is charged with the Feb. 15, 2010 murder of 4-year-old Jeremiah Barnes.
Defense attorney David Fisher concluded his closing speech before the lunch adjournment on Thursday. afternoon. Mr. Fisher and Crown prosecutor Andrew Radcliffe agreed that Justice Quin had been given a great deal of evidence and argument to consider.
Given the schedule of other upcoming cases he is to hear, and the time he will need to consider and write his decision, Justice Quin fixed Jan. 19 for Anglin to return to court to hear the delivery of the verdict.
Anglin, who was acquitted of the murder charge after trial in 2011, again chose trial by judge alone after the Court of Appeal overturned the earlier verdict.
The defendant did not give evidence in either trial.
Identification central to case
Both Crown and defense agreed that the case against Anglin depended wholly on the correctness of the identification of him by Jeremiah’s parents, which Mr. Fisher alleged to be mistaken.
Andy Barnes and Dorlisa Ebanks Barnes were in the front seat of their car at the Hell Service Station with their two young sons in the back seat when a gunman opened fire.
The Crown’s case is that it was the shooter’s intention to kill or seriously injure Mr. Barnes, but the principle of “transferred malice” applied, so the shooter was guilty of Jeremiah’s murder.
Contradictions in evidence
Mr. Fisher emphasized the contradictions in the evidence of Mr. and Mrs. Barnes.
He said Mr. Barnes’s evidence had been based on assumptions, while Mrs. Barnes’s identification of Anglin was based on a fleeting glance.
Mrs. Barnes had told the court she saw the gunman, recognized him as Anglin, then screamed and closed her eyes and ducked under the dashboard.
Witnesses who are independent can support evidence of other witnesses’ identification of a defendant, Mr. Fisher agreed, but Mr. and Mrs. Barnes were not independent of one another; they had been together in the car and may have made the same error of assumption.
As to motive, Mr. Radcliffe had suggested that Anglin thought Mr. Barnes was after him because it was thought that Anglin had murdered Mr. Barnes’s best friend, Carlo Webster, in 2009. Anglin was found guilty of Mr. Webster’s murder in January 2012, after a judge-alone trial, and is serving a sentence of life imprisonment. Mr. Fisher said this conviction would play no part in the judge’s assessment of the evidence in this case.
Mr. Fisher also noted that “many others” also had a motive to shoot Mr. Barnes.
The defense summary highlighted what were said to be weaknesses in the identification evidence. These included the poor quality of the CCTV at the service station, so that a comparison of the shooter’s clothing with Anglin’s clothing resulted only in the expert witness saying that specific items were similar or could not be eliminated.
Mr. Fisher said the Crown had attached significance to the fact that Anglin took a shower at his cousin’s house after the shooting. But visiting his cousin, taking a shower and borrowing a shirt were not unusual actions by Anglin, “so we are not dealing with some extraordinary coincidence,” Mr. Fisher said.
As to the evidence of gunshot residue, Mr. Fisher said the moderate amount found on Anglin’s clothing could have been deposited through innocent contamination, given that he was arrested by armed officers and taken to the George Town Police Station where a later study showed the presence of gunshot residue in various locations.
Anglin had been identified as the driver of a car in which gunshot residue was found on the seat and inside of the driver’s door, Mr. Fisher agreed.
But there was not a significant concentration of gunshot residue to indicate how it was deposited and there was a significant chance that it was not present from the Feb. 15 shooting.
Mr. Fisher concluded by saying that Anglin should be found not guilty of all three charges against him because they obviously stood or fell together: the murder of Jeremiah; the attempted murder of Andy Barnes; and the possession of an unlicensed firearm.