By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO men hoping to be released from prison ahead of their respective murder trials had their bail applications dismissed by a Supreme Court judge yesterday.
In the first of two decisions, 23-year-old Michael Mackey appeared before Justice Vera Watkins concerning a previous hearing when his lawyer Geoffrey Farquharson had argued for the former’s release before trial concerning the December 29, 2014, shooting death of Randy McNeil.
According to initial reports, McNeil, 29, was at a bar at Matthew Street when he got into an argument with another man. McNeil left the bar and was on his way home when several gunshots were fired at him, hitting him in the chest.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel.
The judge had been asked to consider that Mackey would not be tried within a reasonable time because of a 2018 trial date and that his client would not abscond because of the weak evidence in the Crown’s case.
Justice Watkins, in denying bail yesterday, ruled that “the court has previously considered all matters relevant to an application for bail”.
Concerning the scheduled trial date, the judge said: “The views of the court are the same today as they were on September 22.”
“With respect to the evidence against the applicant, the issue was examined in paragraphs 27 through 30 of the (previous) ruling,” the judge said.
“The views expressed in the mentioned paragraphs were arrived at after due consideration of all statements filed with the voluntary bill of indictment. A decision based on an assessment of the probative value of the evidence is not appropriate and I therefore decline to draw any conclusions based on the probative value of the evidence.”
Justice Watkins, in denying bail, agreed with Crown respondent Quintin Percentie’s submissions that “there has been no change in circumstances which would warrant a reconsideration of an application for bail.”
Mr Farquharson made similar arguments in the other application for 22-year-old Edward Johnson who awaits trial in connection with the February 12, 2014 shooting death of Charles Pandy at his home in Winders Terrace.
“The application has failed to satisfy the court that there has been a change in circumstance,” the judge said.
“The circumstances today are the same as on February 19, 2015. A second application for bail based on the same circumstances would only result in the same conclusion. This would be a waste of judicial time. The application for bail is once again denied as there has been no change in circumstances which would warrant a reconsideration,” Justice Watkins concluded.
Both men were remanded to the Department of Correctional Services. They have the right to contest the decisions in the Court of Appeal.