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Judge rules alleged oral statement inadmissible

Judge rules alleged oral statement inadmissible


Now that the case against Francis “Prickle” Williams has been discontinued, the question being asked is “Who killed Glenn Jackson?”{{more}}

When the nearly one-month-old murder trial resumed on Wednesday at the High Court, the prosecution, headed by Gilbert Peterson S.C., announced their decision to discontinue the matter against Williams, after Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle ruled that an alleged oral confession was inadmissible.

“In light of the oral statement being excluded, which was the main part of the prosecution’s case, the remaining evidence is insufficient to continue this prosecution, and in light of this, I have decided to discontinue the case against this accused,” said Peterson.

In the Voir Dire hearing, defence lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne objected to the alleged oral statement being introduced as evidence. She said that the statement was made under the grounds of oppression and that sections 76 and 78 of the Police And Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) were breached. She also claimed that the alleged statement also infringed the Police Regulations under the Police Act and also the Judge’s Rules and Common Law. Bacchus-Browne said that no proper records were kept of the alleged interview and the statement was not signed. She further added that the police told her client that he would be a hero and they would help him with a self-defence case.

The prosecution claimed that the alleged oral confession was done in the presence of Station Sergeant Trevor Bailey, Sergeant Selwyn Jack and Corporal Rudolph Bartholomew.

In his evidence, Corporal Bartholomew said that during the “confession”, he jotted down notes of what Williams said in his “personal diary”.

Station Sergeant Trevor Bailey, in his turn on the witness stand, said that on April 29, 2006, when he walked into the office of the Criminal Investigations Department, Williams asked to speak to him about what had occurred between him and Jackson. “I immediately cautioned him of his right to have a lawyer present, and he replied I just want to tell you my story.”

Bailey said the accused said he had had a sexual relationship with Jackson and that on March 5, 2006, he and Jackson had a telephone conversation. Williams said he left his home and began walking in the direction of Cane Garden to meet Jackson’s vehicle, which was approaching him.

Bailey said that Williams told him that when Jackson picked him up, they drove along the Long Wall area and then headed to the Grammar School where Jackson parked the vehicle. While there, Williams is reported to have said that they came out and went into the back seat of the vehicle. He said Jackson took off his clothes and performed oral sex on him. At one point, when he leaned forward to allow Jackson to change his position in the vehicle, he noticed Jackson’s gun on the driver’s seat.

Bailey said Williams told him that Jackson requested anal sex and he said no, he wasn’t in the mood. He said Jackson then held on to him and began pulling and wringing his hand. This is when he reached forward with his left hand, pointed the gun at Jackson and it went off. After the gun went off Jackson said, “Ok, I done.”

It was said that Williams left the back seat of the vehicle and went to the driver’s seat and drove the vehicle. It was reported that Williams said he stopped in the Sally Spring area at Murray’s Road and turned on the roof light and noticed that Jackson was breathing heavily and moving from left to right in the backseat. He said he continued driving and on reaching the Sion Hill intersection, he turned right into Cane Garden. Williams said he parked the vehicle next to a big tree and noticed that Jackson’s phone was charging.

Williams is reported to have said that he left Jackson in the vehicle, took the phone and the gun and went home. He said the phone’s chip fell and he threw the gun in a gutter.

Bailey said he asked the accused why he did not drive Jackson to the hospital and Williams said that he was frightened.

The gun in the matter was never recovered.

The court heard that when Williams was questioned on a number of occasions whilst in custody from the 27th to 28th of April 2006 by then Inspector Willisford Caesar, head of the investigation, the accused did not answer any of the questions put to him by Caesar. On the 29th, Caesar again interviewed the accused in the presence of his two lawyers. He refused to answer any of the questions on the advice of his lawyers.

It is said that it was just after this that Williams made the “confession”. Bacchus-Browne, in her cross-examination, pointed out that it was peculiar that Williams would have confessed to the police shortly after his two lawyers left.

The defence lawyers also stated that it was not common police practice for a police officer to make notes in his own personal diary, and that every officer should write in their official police regulation book. They argued that Bartholomew, in making his “jottings” in his diary, just signed his name to the notes and closed his diary. Bacchus-Browne further pointed out that the accused was not made to read the notes, neither were they read to him, nor did he sign the notes, a clear violation of the Judge’s rules.

She also pointed out that Sergeant Jack could not say if Williams had been cautioned while in the Major Crimes Unit Office. It was also noted that Station Sergeant Bailey neglected to say in his evidence that he cautioned the witness when they visited Cane Garden, The Grammar School and the Cruise Ship Berth.

Corporal Bartholomew, in his evidence, stated that Bailey cautioned the accused, but he never made note of it in the diary in which he made his “jottings”. He further added that Bailey also cautioned the defendant at the Grammar School and the Cruise Ship Berth. Sergeant Jack, who was not present at the MCU office when Bailey administered the caution, stated that Bailey cautioned the accused at the various stops previously mentioned. The accused, however, denied that any caution was ever put to him either at the MCU or anywhere else.

Continuing to fiercely jab the prosecution, the defence raised the issue of the time when the alleged confession was made at the office. At first, 9:30 a.m. was given as the time the confession was made. There was a subsequent alteration of the time to 11:40 a.m. as being the correct time the confession was received.

Justice Bruce-Lyle also refused the application after Station Sergeant Bailey was recalled to testify, having realized his omission, especially after his two other colleagues had stated that he did caution him at the various stops. “To have allowed him to testify after his two other colleagues had testified would have been palpably unfair and prejudicial to the accused,” the judge stated.

In the judge’s view, cautioning an accused who accompanies officers to a crime scene is so fundamental that if it was indeed administered, Station Sergeant Bailey would have said so.

It was under cross-examination that Sergeant Jack mentioned that Bailey cautioned the accused at the various stops. He did not mention it at the first opportunity in his evidence-in-chief. “I am convinced that no such caution was administered,” said Bruce-Lyle.