September 28, 2020

Lost: Missing evidence


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It was not surprising that Justice Alex Henderson overturned defendant, Eduardo Swaby-Gutierrez conviction on October 2011 of possessing 21 grams of cocaine with intent to supply.

At the Summary Court trial, chief magistrate Margaret Ramsey Hale had sentenced Swaby-Gutierrez to 12 years imprisonment for the offence and had relied on particles of cocaine to convict him. However, no particles were ever submitted for analysis or actually handed into the court as evidence. Furthermore this “evidence” was never included in the original charges.

On Friday 29th June, in the Grand Court, Judge Henderson heard the appeal from Swaby-Gutierrez’s attorney, Peter Pollack, where the missing evidence came to light and has never been found the attorney revealed. He submitted fifteen grounds of appeal, eight of which were conceded by the prosecution before the start of the appeal. The Judge said this was only the second time he had seen so many grounds of appeal on a case!

Upon quashing the conviction, Justice Henderson changed it to a lesser charge of possession, giving the defendant a sentence of seven months.

Swaby-Gutierrez walked free as he had already served that time.


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