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Trial judge's error sets rape convict free
published: Monday | December 22, 2003

THE COURT of Appeal has upheld submissions from defence lawyer Jacqueline Samuels-Brown that Anthony McCalla, of Rio Nuevo, St. Mary should be freed of his eight-year prison sentence for rape because of an error on the part of the trial judge.

Ms. Samuels-Brown had argued that the trial judge misquoted the evidence to the jury.

McCalla was convicted on June 28, 2000 in the St. Mary Circuit Court of raping a woman with whom he was intimately involved. They had lived in the same house but slept in separate rooms. The complainant moved out of the house on May 23, 2001 and returned the following day to collect her belongings.

She said she went to the bathroom to take a shower when McCalla beat her and raped her. She said a vehicle came into the yard and she called for help and three men came out of the vehicle. She told them what McCalla had allegedly done and they beat McCalla.

McCalla denied beating or raping the complainant. He said he only asked her not to leave the house without paying the rent. He said her friends attacked him and beat him to the point of unconsciousness and he was taken to the St. Ann's Bay Hospital. After he was released from hospital two days later, the police informed him of the report that he had raped the complaintant. He said he invited the police to retireve the clothing that he had been wearing on the day in question but they refused.

Mrs. Samuels-Brown referred to several misdirections by the judge and pointed out that the misquotation of the evidence must have seriously affected McCalla's chance of an acquittal. She also referred to the absence of medical evidnece in the prosecution's case.

The court, in upholding the submissions said that in the circumstances of the case, it would be unfair for McCalla to face another trial. The court said that a second trial would provide an opportunity for the prosecution to make good deficiencies that were exposed at the first trial. "These deficiencies include the prosecution's failure to produce medical evidence to support the severe beating that the complainant alleged that the applicant visited on her. She is supposed to have been examined by two doctors, one on the day of the assault and the other on the following day. In spite of these medical examinations, no medical evidence was forthcoming." McCalla's conviction for rape was quashed, his eight-year prison sentence set aside and a verdict of acquittal entered.

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