The Court of Appeal will next month rule on an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack to have two affidavits, including one from the Trial Judge, included as part of the record in the appeal of the acquittals of the Lusignan Massacre accused.
When the matter began yesterday before the panel of Appeal Judges comprising Chancellor (ag) Carl Singh, Justice Rabi Shankar Sukul and Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Ali-Hack made the application, which was met with an objection by attorney Nigel Hughes, who is representing one of the accused.
The trial, which concluded on August 2, ended with James Anthony Hyles, called ‘Sally,’ and Mark Royden Williams, called ‘Smallie,’ being found not guilty by a jury on 11 counts of murder.
It was subsequently revealed that Hughes, who was on record for Hyles, once had a lawyer-client relationship with the jury foreman. This information was never provided to the court before or during the trial, which was presided over by Justice Navindra Singh.
Ali-Hack told the court yesterday said that she was seeking leave of the court to have the two affidavits added as part of the record and she cited a similar case in which this was allowed. Hughes then asked the court whether the application is being based on the case or a particular section.
In speaking specifically about the affidavit of the trial judge, he noted that he has not had the benefit of the judge’s notes as had been done in the case cited by the DPP in her application.
He pointed out too that an affidavit is in fact evidence and as such the judge might be subjected to cross-examination. He then formally objected to the two affidavits being made a part of the proceedings.
Chancellor Singh had earlier stated that the typing of the records (the judge’s notes taken during the trial) is not yet complete and he left it in the hands of Hughes and Williams’ attorney Roger Yearwood whether they still wanted to proceed.
Both lawyers indicated that they would prefer the complete record to be ready before they begin.
Only Williams, who was handcuffed and shackled, appeared in court yesterday. When asked about this, the DPP explained that after the filing of the grounds of appeal, an arrest warrant was issued for Hyles, who has been “unlawfully at large” since then. She said that police had been visiting Hyles’ home in search of him but he had not been found.
Hughes said that the notice of the day’s proceedings that he received is not addressed to his client nor was any notice sent to his home for him to attend court. He stated that Hyles can be can be contacted if needs be and he could ensure his presence if the court so wished.
Hughes explained that when the not guilty verdict was returned, his client was placed on $1.1M bail but was not able to raise that money right away.
He said that the court later released Hyles on his own recognisance. Since then, he said, neither he nor his client was informed that the court needed him.
The DPP later gave an undertaking that she will convey to the police that the warrant will not be acted upon as Hughes has agreed to bring his client to court on the next occasion.
The case was later adjourned to November 8.