September 18, 2020

Sanchez back in the dock

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Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale is presiding over the case.

Three men appeared in court yesterday, charged variously with assault and firearms offences, one of whom, Jose Sanchez, was acquitted just last week in the March 2010 West Bay murder of Alrick Peddie.

In a hearing before Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale, Mr Sanchez 24, was charged with possession of an imitation firearm, while brothers Robert Bush and Christopher Bush were charged with assault and grievous bodily harm in a 27 July Hell Road attack.

Arguing for bail, Mr Sanchez’s attorney, Nicola Moore, conceded that her client — and accomplices Deward Bush and Aaron Crawford — had been acquitted only on 25 July in the Peddie murder, in which the victim was shot nine times in the front yard of the Wille Farringdon Drive home of the chief witness against him.

That acquittal, however, Ms Moore said, was sufficient to allow her client to post bail.

“He was acquitted on Monday,” she said, and after the Hell Road assault 48 hours later “gave a full and frank interview to police. He was very mindful of staying out of trouble; he left the scene and waited, not wanting to get mixed up in the trouble.”

Speaking for the crown, Kenneth Ferguson told the court that “a complainant”, who remained unnamed pending possible further charges in the case, told police that he and his mother had been drinking at the Memory Lane Bar and Lounge on Hell Road about 9:30pm when Robert Bush and Jose Sanchez drove into the compound.

“Certain unsavoury words were exchanged,” between Mr Bush and the complainant, Mr Ferguson said, supporting informal accounts that death threats may have been made.

”Sanchez walked toward the complainant, with a handgun in his hand. He did not point it at anyone. He pushed the mother out of the way. The complainant walked towards Sanchez to prevent any further approach, and Sanchez stepped back,” Mr Ferguson said.

Robert Bush twice punched the complainant in the face, “a scuffle ensued” Mr Ferguson said, and, critically, ”Mr Sanchez said ‘this not call for blood ‘.

“Christopher Bush came and kicked him several times. His girlfriend tried to push Charles Bush off of him, he tried to get up, then fell unconscious,” Mr Ferguson said.

“A firearms offence is very serious, whether it is imitation or not,” the crown lawyer argued. “We have no objection to bail for Robert Bush or Christopher Bush,” he said, but was reluctant to endorse Mr Sanchez.

“The girlfriend,” he said, ”was fearful because of certain things. There have been no allegations that anyone has threatened her since, but one must be cognisant of violence in the Cayman Islands.”

Ms Moore countered that Mr Sanchez’s acquittal in the Peddie murder was “not lucky or a mistake.” “The arresting office in the [Hell Road] case”, she said, “had no objection to bail.”

“Mr Sanchez did not point the firearm, and even backed away, and said ‘this not called for blood. He was not part of the incident. The police searched his premises immediately afterward and nothing was found. He is not a flight risk,” she said.

Granting bail to all three defendants, Ms Ramsay-Hale ordered Mr Sanchez to leave West Bay and reside with his grandmother in Savannah, while imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the brothers and forbidding them to enter any liquor-licenced premise.

All three are due back in court in 9 August.

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