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Witness Anonymity Discussed In Mackey Murder Case

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A JUDGE has reserved his decision on whether or not the prosecution has complied with the law regarding a statement obtained from an anonymous witness in the fatal shooting of Prime Minister Perry Christie’s press secretary Latore Mackey.

Justice Bernard Turner, yesterday, heard the constitutional motion for 18-year-old Kelvin Deveaux which was argued by his lawyer Geoffrey Farquharson.

Mr Farquharson contends that the Crown ought to have applied for witness anonymity to the Supreme Court instead of the Magistrate’s Court, which did not have the jurisdiction to make an order that, although provided for both in statute and case law in special circumstances, contravened his client’s constitutional right to a fair trial.

In the circumstances, he said, the application for an anonymity order should have been made to the Supreme Court where the matter was to be tried and where issues of the constitution are raised.

The lawyer added that the Crown has willingly not complied because if it did, prosecutors would be duty bound to disclose all information regarding the witness before such an order could be made.

Mr Farquharson further argued that not only was the statement false but claimed the witness was the actual shooter that early morning and had since made himself known to Deveaux and the circumstances in which led him to do what he did.

The lawyer argued that the initial police reports surrounding the incident should not be forgotten as Mackey had reported to police that someone was following him.

A person matching the description Mackey had given was pulled over and searched but police were called to a disturbance elsewhere which, Farquharson said, was not actually the case. Mr Mackey was killed moments later the attorney said.

Deveaux, with 22-year-old Dereck Neily, is scheduled to stand trial before Justice Turner in July 2015 concerning the August 25 murder of Mackey.

Mackey, 37, was deputy director of Bahamas Information Services and owner of the Blue Reef Sports Bar and Lounge on West Bay Street.

He was shot in the neck around 4:30am off Market Street on the morning of August 25.

Deveaux, of Market Street, and Neily, of Young Close, face a charge of murder under Section 291 (1B) of the Penal Code, Chapter 84. A charge under this section does not attract the death penalty.

Deveaux has denied the murder charge, and gave an alibi in the Magistrates Court that he was not present when Mackey had been shot.

Prosecutor Sandradee Garinder dismissed Mr Farquharson’s submissions concerning the lower court’s jurisdiction. She countered that the magistrate did have the jurisdiction, in accordance with the Witness Anonymity Act, to issue a witness anonymity order given that the matter had yet to be forwarded to the Supreme Court.

She said that the order was in effect until discharged by the Supreme Court, as had been done in a similar court before being overturned by the appellate court.

She added that if the one accepted Farquharson’s position in that regard, however, then it also implied that the magistrate had no power to do the same in matters where trials were being heard in the lower court.

Gardiner further argued that the lawyer’s claims regarding the witness were matters that be brought up at trial during cross-examination.

She added, though, that if the court agreed to accept the accused’s application, then there were remedies in place.

However, she asked the court if it would consider hearing a renewed witness anonymity application, notwithstanding the current application before the court.

Justice Turner said he would reserve his decision, which he would deliver as soon as possible.

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