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Men May Have Their Acquittal Challenged In Their Absence

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribuemedia.net

THE Crown’s appeal against the directed-murder acquittal of three men may be heard in their absence.

Prosecutor Ambrose Armbrister, before the Court of Appeal yesterday, noted that the Crown had only been able to locate Michael Joseph to serve submissions concerning the appeal against their acquittal for the murder of Shawn Evans.

He said that with the transcripts from the 2012 trial now available, he needed to make amendments to his submission that he wished to serve on Joseph, Smith Charitable and Nicole Octelus.

Mr Armbrister said that if they could not be located during the time for serving the document he would present case authorities that permitted appeals to be heard in the absence of the respondents.

The appellate court said it would adjourn to September 16 for substantive hearing.

In November 2011, an amendment was made to the Court of Appeal Act which allows the Crown to challenge a judge’s decision to acquit on a no case submission.

In June 2012, Justice Vera Watkins directed the acquittal of Charitable, Octelus and Joseph after ruling the evidence of the prosecution’s main witness, John Lubin, was unreliable.

Lubin alleged that he was at Evans’ home in Pride Estates on September 15, 2007, when he heard voices outside. Lubin said he saw Charitable and his co-defendants and claimed that Charitable had a gun and flashlight.

Lubin also said that Charitable came upstairs, shot Evans and then fired three shots at him, but he managed to flee by jumping over the balcony.

Justice Watkins said: “I am of the view that the quality of the identifying evidence is poor as it depends on a fleeting glance at each of the men in poor lighting conditions.” As a result of her finding, Justice Watkins withdrew the case from jurors and directed them to acquit.

The Crown contends that the judge was wrong to withdraw the case from the jury.

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