November 29, 2020

The Editor speakes: I could have been mistaken

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Chuck and Barrie Quappe wrote a song for the musical “Magna Carta” called “I Could Have Been Mistaken”. Matilda de Briouze, a baroness who lived in the 11th century and was known for being a gossip, sang the song. Her gossiping of, often offensive, falsehoods got her sent to prison where she died after she was mysteriously poisoned. I co-wrote the book that went with the music and now I have to echo those words. Yes, I could have been mistaken.

I could have been mistaken when I wrote my Editorial on 2nd Dec under the banner “More bad news for the RCIPS.” I was commenting on the Court of Appeal’s decision to quash the murder convictions of Patrick McField, Osbourne Douglas and Brandon Leslie. I stated that, “by looking at the evidence on which the defendants were found guilty there would seem to be reasonable doubt.” If that wasn’t bad enough I added this really offending statement, “There is obviously something wrong with Cayman’s Legal Department because this is not the first time this has happened.” The gossip of Matilda’s day is like the blogs we have today except our bloggers can hide behind mostly silly false names without fear of reprisals.

I have now had cause to review the actual transcript where Justice Charles Quin ruled on a submission by the defendants on 30 Aug/9 Sep 2010 that there was no case to answer. The submission contained references to inconsistencies between the witnesses, the number of shots fired at the scene, forensic evidence, identification and other matters of contention. The submissions asked the case should be withdrawn from the jury.

In her response the Solicitor General did acknowledge there were inconsistencies between the evidence of two of the witnesses but pointed out that much of the evidence of the two eye witnesses tended to support one another. She said, “They both saw the three men confront the deceased at the porch, and they both saw two of the men each draw a gun and point them at the deceased.” One of the witnesses knew all three men before the material time.

In making his judgment, Justice Quin said, “It is my view that, although there are several inconsistencies and discrepancies within the Crown evidence, these are matters which, with proper directions, can be safely left for the jury. There will have to be careful directions on a number of issues such as eye witness and voice identification evidence. At the appropriate time I will invite all four counsel to give me their suggestions relating to these directions. If all counsel think it appropriate, I can always consider providing the jury with a written route or steps to verdict.

“In my view, looking at all the evidence before me, there is a case for each of the three defendants to answer and looking at each of the three defendants and the charge they face, there is, on one possible view of the facts, evidence upon which a jury could properly come to the conclusion that they are each guilty.

“Therefore, I order that this matter should be allowed to go to the jury.” The jury consequently found the three men guilty of the murder of the three men.

Therefore, after reading the transcript, I was mistaken in saying ‘there is obviously something wrong with Cayman’s Legal Department and I humbly apologise to them and to Justice Quin.

Whilst I am in the mood for apologising I must admit I was incredibly rude in another of my editorials (29 Nov) “British Bobbies Leave” where I asked Police Commissioner David Baines if he wrote his own statements. I implied they were badly written with ‘meaningless verbiage’ and hoped he hadn’t written them himself and if he did he needed someone else to write them for him. Please forgive me Commissioner. It was wrong and offensive.

Now I expect all of the above would like to see me imprisoned and even poisoned. Thank goodness it is 2011, but I will not tell anyone which restaurant I will be eating at in the foreseeable future.

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