Michael Fernando Jefferson, 25, was released from custody on Wednesday after the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal overturned his conviction for possession of firearms.
Senior Crown counsel Nicole Petit asked the court to order a retrial and president Sir John Goldring did so, saying it was “in the interest of justice.”
He said the court would give its reasons for quashing the conviction in writing.
Mr. Jefferson was found guilty after trial last year of having an unlicensed .38 Bryco pistol and two rounds of ammunition at his residence on June 11, 2015.
He received the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
Attorney Philip Rule argued several grounds of appeal, but the court asked Ms. Petit to respond to only one issue – police evidence of an alleged confession.
The officer had given evidence that, while he was with Mr. Jefferson in the yard, the suspect had told him he had the gun for protection. The officer said he did not make a note because his notebook was in the police vehicle, and he did not tell the officer responsible for logging details of the search warrant operation because she was inside the house. He said he forgot when he went back to the station to write his statement, but he remembered in the middle of the night and told his colleagues the first thing in the morning.
Mr. Jefferson denied making that confession.
Ms. Petit said there was other evidence on which the defendant could be tried and not be prejudiced.
She also asked that Mr. Jefferson be remanded pending a bail hearing, but Mr. Rule pointed out that his client had been on bail for at least a year between his arrest and trial.
Justice Goldring told the appellant, “You’re free to go, Mr. Jefferson.”
The appeal was heard by Justices Richard Field and Denis Morrison, along with the president.