October 28, 2020

MOTHER’S JUSTICE PLEA: Dorlissa Barnes feels comfort at appeal decision

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Jeremiah Barnes

Dorlisa Barnes, mother of murdered Jeremiah Barnes, told iNews Cayman yesterday that justice was overdue for her child, and the fact no one had been held accountable for the killing was “disgusting”.

In the wake of Monday’s announcement that prosecutors would appeal the August murder acquittal of Devon Anglin, the mother of the 4-year-old victim yesterday welcomed the move, but lamented the delay in gaining justice.

After the 31 August acquittal of Anglin on charges of murder, attempted murder and possession of an illegal firearm, RCIPS Commissioner David Baines called the verdict ‘a grave day for justice”, declining to say if police planned to launch a search for the “real killer”.

Ms Barnes said yesterday, however, that the intended appeal of the verdict by visiting Jamaican Justice Howard Cooke offered only modest relief.

“The news of the appeal is somewhat comforting,” she said. “However, it bears very little comfort as I feel it should be a priority of the Cayman Islands that justice is served for my 4-year-old baby boy, and to keep this murderer behind bars so that he does not do it again.”

RCIPS Commissioner David Baines

Both she and husband Andy Barnes, testified before Justice Cooke in the two-week trial, identifying Anglin as the gunman in the February 2010 assault at the Hell Road Esso station. Augmenting closed-circuit-TV footage of the night-time shooting, both witnesses said the accused had been firing at Mr Barnes, driving the family’s white Chevrolet Malibu, instead hitting Jeremiah, seated behind his father and next to his 9-year-old brother Jamaul, who remained unscathed.

“Baby Jeremiah was heinously taken from us, his life cut short because of someone else’s cruel intentions,” Mrs Barnes said yesterday. “And to know that that individual has not been held accountable as yet for his actions towards an innocent child is disgusting.”

In his verdict, Justice Cooke discarded both witness statements, calling them unreliable, citing, in the words Anglin defence counsel Jonathan Ryder, QC, “antecedent antipathy”, previous hostility between Barnes and Anglin. The closed-circuit-TV evidence, Justice Cooke said, was unclear, providing no firm identification.

“Logically speaking,” Mrs Barnes answered yesterday, “why would I point the finger at the wrong [person] and make my baby’s killer run free? This makes no sense, and if my identification was not accurate, none – and I mean none – of the circumstantial evidence would be supportive.

“Words cannot begin to explain what we are going through,” she said, “and will for the rest of our lives. We are serving a life sentence without Jerry.

Devon Anglin

“I for one will stand up for what is right and the truth regardless that I lost one of the most precious persons in my life. It kills me every day not being able to hear, touch, smell and hold my baby.”

The appeal, Ms Barnes said, was fully justified. The legal system  “states the law does provide extraordinary sittings. Well, I feel and I know most of the citizens agree with me [that] this should be the case in this circumstance.”

No date has been set for the new hearing, although the Appeals Court will begin its seasonal session next Tuesday.

“This is very heartbreaking for my family to have to wait more than two years for justice to be served (if it is) and to have some type of closure,” Ms Barnes said. “I [would] like to end with saying: ‘The Lord does not take pleasure in wickedness and He will destroy all who does.’”

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