Another murder conviction quashed! Judge failed to direct jury on identification rules!

On Monday November 25, 2013 Urban St. Brice, 35, who has been on remand at the Bordelais Correctional Facility for eleven years now, made another court appearance for a retrial in the murder case for which he was charged. (Incidentally Bordelais is eleven years old).  Once again the case was adjourned with no reason given. A new date of January 20, 2014 has been set for St. Brice to reappear in court. In the weekend issue of The STAR we paint another story of “justice delayed-justice denied” , now a norm in Fair Helen. But for now we take you back six years to November 3, 2007 with this Christine Larbey court report from The STAR on the case involving St. Brice, which by all accounts has been botched from the start. (Editor)

In 2006, then presiding High Court Judge Albert Redhead, now retired, sentenced Urban St Brice aka De Worms to life in prison for the October 2002 murder of Dwayne Andrew aka Spanish.

The Crown argued that St Brice fatally shot Andrew with a single bullet to the abdomen

near the Bois d’Orange quarry. At trial, lawyer Marcus Foster represented St Brice. Then Crown Counsel Racquel Willie-Trotman, now in private practice, had told the jury there was strong circumstantial evidence to convict St Brice, who she said “had deliberately killed Andrew.” However, the prosecution never introduced any forensic evidence. The state further maintained that St Brice had “planned the intentional and brutal murder.”

Foster had raised a defense of mistaken identity. Months after St Brice was sentenced, Foster appealed before Justices of Appeal Sir Brian Alleyne, Hugh Rawlins and Ola Mae Edwards. At the appeal hearing lawyer Sean Innocent, representing Foster, argued against the conviction and sentence. Innocent’s case was based on “the judge’s failure to correctly and properly sum up to the jury the law on identification.”

This had created doubt as to whether the conviction was sound and whether the evidence of identification, without any other evidence, was sufficient to lead to conviction.

The testimony of one witness was weak and unreliable, Innocent had said.

The particular witness, two days after the incident, had claimed not to know who shot the dead man, but a year later had given a statement that he “saw who did it.”

The appeal judges also heard from Innocent that the “police as required by law had not conducted an identification parade.” Innocent had maintained that theprosecution’s case was weak because it was based only on circumstantial evidence. He said there were “dangers in convicting someone for murder purely on uncorroborated evidence.”

Finally Innocent said Justice Redhead had also failed to remind himself of the new Evidence Act, specifically as it related to the question on identification. Meanwhile on Monday, at a sitting of the Court of Appeal, presiding justices Hugh Rawlins, Dennis Barrow and Sir Brian Alleyne handed down judgement on the matter.

“As well as full Turnbull directions, additional specific directions to the jury must be given,” said Justice Alleyne.

“They referred to sections 102 and 136, Evidence Act of 2002. The conclusion of the Appeal Court: The trial judge failed to highlight to the jury of some evidence. The appeal is allowed. There was not sufficient direction given by the judge. There was also a failure to give reasons. The conviction and sentence is set aside. A retrial is ordered, at the discretion of the DPP.”

St Brice remains in jail. Innocent said an application for bail was a possibility.

Christine Larbey, Nov 2007

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