Convict admits he framed Jamaican jailed in Bermuda
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Delroy Duncan, a Jamaican man serving a 10-year sentence in a Bermudian prison, after being convicted on drug trafficking charges, has received a possible lifeline.
A convict, who worked on the same cruise ship with Duncan, has indicated to the court that the Jamaican is innocent.
"It's been two years since I have been living with the burden of knowing that I caused an innocent man's freedom to be taken away. It is this which makes me want to confess what I consider to be a sin," Clarence James said in an affidavit filed in court.
In addition to his formal affidavit, James - a national of St Kitts & Nevis, whose initial testimony implicated Duncan - has also released a handwritten confession.
James stated that he lied in his original testimony, but said since he was incarcerated he has turned over his life to God.
"By finally being truthful about the matter, I hope that God's grace and mercy will bring me forgiveness and I sincerely hope that the Honourable Court accepts my confession and grants back to this man the freedom which he once had."
This has given Duncan, the Jamaican father of a two-year-old son, who is appealing his conviction, added impetus to renew his fight for freedom.
Duncan has submitted 'A Petition for Release from Prison' to the Governor of Bermuda.
Duncan said this latest development has renewed his hope after serving two years for a crime he insisted that he did not commit.
James, in his affidavit filed in the Supreme Court of Bermuda Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction, stated: "I was with the accused Duncan and we were tried together and convicted of importation of, conspiracy to import cocaine."
HE IS INNOCENT
The affidavit added: "We are both now serving sentences as a result of those convictions. I know that Duncan is trying to appeal his conviction. I also know that he is innocent and that's why I make this affidavit."
"I lied about him being involved in the importation of the cocaine that I had been caught with on August 8, 2011," said James in the affidavit.
He claimed in the court document that: "On the day I was searched as I left the ship and that was when the drugs were found inside the sneakers I was wearing."
James also claimed that he panicked and did not know what to say at first.
"Then Duncan's name came to mind and I figured that because I had used his phone a lot, I could say the sneakers belonged to him and that he asked me to deliver them."
Added James: "In reality, Duncan had nothing to do with what I was up to. I never told him who I was communicating with when I used his phone."
James also claimed that the phone number written on the paper found in Duncan's room was written by him at his (James') request.
"It was me who put the phone number for 'Mad' and others in his phone," the affidavit added.
"The other reason I told the police Duncan was involved was to avoid identifying the real person. I know that person to be very intimidating and well connected in the drug world," stated James.
"There is no way that I would have taken the risk of directing the police to him since I am sure it could have put my life and my family's life in danger."
James said it was for this reason that he used Duncan's phone to distract the police.
He said since being in prison and giving his life to God, he has tried to become a better person. "But I cannot fully make this change without trying to put right my past wrongs, where I might have some power to do so."
In a letter dated June 11, 2013, to the consul general of Jamaica, Duncan, who has been an inmate at Westgate Correctional Facility in Bermuda since 2011, asserted that he has been falsely accused.
Duncan complained that it was his opinion that it is impossible for a foreigner accused of a crime in Bermuda to get a fair trial.
He said the evidence to prove that he didn't commit the crime is the same evidence provided by the Bermudian authorities.
Duncan, in his letter, complained that the Jamaican consul was less than helpful when he appealed for assistance.
Repeated calls to the Jamaican Consulate in Bermuda by The Sunday Gleaner have yielded only voicemail recordings.