Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Appeals Court orders retrial of farmer's 'unfair trial'

Published:Monday | December 22, 2014 | 9:13 AM

Barbra Gayle, Justice Coordinator

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

A Portland farmer who was convicted on gun charges in 2012 is to stand a retrial after a high court found that his first trial was unfairly conducted.

The Court of Appeal made the ruling last week, handing victory to Cecil Moore, who argued that he was not even given enough time to get his witnesses to court to argue his case.

Moore, from Windsor in Portland, was serving a 15-year sentence after being convicted and sentenced in November 2012 for wounding with intent and illegal possession of firearm.

Each charge carried a 15-year sentence but the judge who tried the case in the Gun Court had ordered that each run concurrently.

The prosecution had led evidence that on June 17, 2012, a farmer from Windsor was leaving his farm, on his way home when he heard what sounded like gunshots.

The farmer reportedly looked in the direction of the sound and saw Moore with a gun in his hand.

An altercation later developed ending with the farmer, who is the complainant in the matter, escaping with two gun shot wounds.

The police later said acting on information, they visited a section of Windsor that day and saw a group of men holding a tarpaulin with a bleeding man identified as Moore, laying on it.

He was taken to hospital and subsequently arrested and charged.

In his defence, Moore said he was on his way to feed his goats when he heard gunshots and ran.

He says it was then that the other farmer chopped him.

He denied being in possession of a gun.

In his appeal, Moore alleged that the judge insisted on going through with the trial four months after the incident even though his lawyer was not ready.

He told the Appeals Court that he did not even have time to call his witnesses and the trial was conducted in an atmosphere of animosity between the judge and his lawyer.

In handing down its decision, the Appeals Court refused an application for the case to be dismissed and Moore freed.

According to the high court, while the trial was unfairly conducted, the case was strong and the offences were serious.

However, it said given the events in the first trial, it was dismissing the conviction and sentences and ordering a new trial in the interest of justice.


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