By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Court of Appeal this week dismissed the appeal of Dudley Seide, affirming his conviction for armed robbery with a sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
According to court documents, the appeal was dismissed on several grounds by Justice Jon Isaacs after Seide’s counsel Ramona Farquharson-Seymour made several arguments to overturn the conviction including that there were several errors on the part of the trial judge.
The matter stems from the July 2009 robbery and murder of Leslie Thomas Maycock as he was closing his business. The document states he was approached by two gunmen who took his chain and a black pouch containing $700 to $900.
He was shot by one of the men and died a few days later. Seide and another man were arrested and charged with murder and armed robbery.
During the trial, the prosecution sought to rely on a confession. However, the defence alleged the confession was not voluntarily obtained, and therefore inadmissible, as the appellant had been subjected to abuse at the hands of the police. The abuse alleged by the appellant was that he was hogtied and dunked into the sea by the police, which caused or worsened an ear infection.
Following a trial, the appellant was found not guilty of murder but guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to 20 years.
Seide appealed the conviction on the ground the trial judge erred by admitting his confession statement which the judge ruled was voluntarily obtained. However, the Court of Appeal found no merit in Seide’s case.
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour pointed out the Crown’s case against the appellant relied on a record of interview and a statement both taken on the August 29, 2009. She contended that both of those documents came into existence as a result of the conduct of the police before, during and after these statements were taken, which can best be characterised as barbaric.
The conduct she complained of was that questions put to Seide and his answers were not recorded nor was there mention of a detention record when he was arrested around 6.15am on August 28, 2009 and first questioned more than 12 hours later.
It was also alleged “that the appellant contended that he was hogtied and repeatedly dunked at Barbary Beach, which caused an injury to his ears; that the doctor diagnosed the appellant of having ‘otitus externa,’ commonly referred to as ‘swimmers’ ear’ and “that all of the officers whilst denying abusing the appellant could not recall significant information about their involvement with the appellant.”
“Further they all pointed to Sgt 772 Johnson, as the investigator in charge of all that happened with the appellant” and the Crown “never produced Sgt Johnson as a witness,” the judgement noted.
The Court of Appeal said where the prosecution proposes to rely on a defendant’s confession it must satisfy a court beyond a reasonable doubt that the confession was made voluntarily.
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour also argued the learned judge erred in law by not affording the defence adequate facility and assistance in preparation of their case.
But Justice Isaacs said: “I am satisfied that the position adopted by the judge is defensible because the defence would have had ample time before the trial began or even after it had started to take steps to locate Officer Seymour and/or the documents. As indicated, the appellant could have enlisted the court’s assistance in having Officer Seymour subpoenaed to attend court.”
He also said: “I would also mention that despite the voir dire continuing, the defence could have maintained their request for searches to continue even while the trial was ongoing. This was not done.”
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour also argued the trial judge erred in law by suggesting to the defence that they should not present a no case submission.
Justice Isaacs said a “short shrift” may be given to this ground.
“At page 481 of the record, at the close of the Crown’s case, and after the learned judge had excused the jury, appears the following: ‘The court: Mr Brown, I think you will not be making a submission. Mr Brown: No, that would be a waste of time, I realise where I have to fight my battles.’
“The submission of which the learned judge spoke was one of no case to answer. Mr Brown’s response to the learned judge was impudent but it did disclose that he had made the conscious decision not to make a submission in the court below; but would keep his powder dry for discharge elsewhere.
“That being the case, no complaint may be heard from the appellant on this point as the learned judge at no time displayed a closed mind to the appellant’s case or that he had prejudged the matter. This ground therefore fails.”
The ruling was supported by Court of Appeal President Dame Anita Allen and Justice Stella Crane-Scott.