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Appeal In Drive-By Shooting Death Case Dismissed

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Court of Appeal has dismissed a man's appeal to have his conviction and sentencing overturned on the grounds that he had no case to answer for his involvement in a 2010 murder.

Appellate Justices Sir Hartman Longley, President, Stella Crane-Scott, and Sir Michael Barnett dismissed Denard Davis’ appeal concerning the drive-by shooting death of Sheria Curry in the area of Fox Hill.

According to the record of report, Curry, with Shanko Smith were outside in their yard when a Hyundai SUV drove up and shots were fired.

Ms Curry was killed and Mr Smith was injured.

Witnesses to the tragedy identified the shooters but no identification was made of the driver.

The Court’s eight page ruling, which was posted to its website on Wednesday, contended that by his own account in a statement to police, the appellant named himself as the driver of the vehicle – stating that he did not know what his co-accused were planning.

He was charged with two others for the murder and attempted murder.

Davis, through his attorney Murrio Ducille, had maintained, among other things, that the trial judge had erred in law when he ruled that the appellant had a case to answer without giving a reason for his decision.

Davis had made the argument on the grounds that the prosecution led no evidence to suggest he intentionally acted with the others as it related to the drive-by shooting.

However, the appellate judges indicated the appellant’s argument had an “air of unreality,” citing, “inasmuch as the appellant admitted that he was the driver of the car.”

“The evidence of the eyewitnesses regarding the movements of the car, if believed, was more than sufficient to enable a jury to find that the appellant was acting in concert with his passengers to effect the shooting,” the ruling noted. “The eyewitnesses testified as to how the car was driving slowly as it approached the yard and the shots were fired from the car and the car stopped and a second round of shots were fired.”

The appellate judges highlighted segments of at least four witness statements, all of which affirmed the driver in the incident slowed down in an effort to aid the shooter.

Section eight of the Court of Appeal’s ruling quoted one witness as saying: “a grey jeep came heading west on Step Street. When it came to a sudden stop, and the passenger … slightly screw down his window and proceeded three shots headed in my direction. And then the jeep drove up about a little more and stopped right there.”

That witness said he saw the back passenger discharge about ten shots in the direction of a person in the yard standing near to a coconut tree.

In section nine, another witness is quoted as saying: “the jeep just ride pass me and the mason slow and gone over the speed bump and fled up towards Fox Hill Road way… and as me and the mason walk off, almost to the corner to get home, the jeep was right back, heading back to Step Street… I didn’t pay it no mind...I just started hearing gunshots; plenty, like pap, pap, pap…after when my people move, I saw the jeep. Like, started to like drive again and just stop. And the fire cracker noise start again.”

Referring to these statements, the appellate judges asserted the trial judge’s decision not to provide his reasoning didn’t prevent the court from looking at the evidence at the close of the prosecution’s case and determining whether the trial judge was wrong to refuse the no case submission on behalf of the appellant.

The ruling stated: “We agree with counsel for the appellant that his mere presence in the car may not have been sufficient to prove that the appellant was acting in concert with the shooters. But the appellant was not simply present in the car. He was the driver of the car. It was he who (if the eyewitnesses were to be believed) drove the car slow enough to enable the passengers to pull down the windows and make the shots and it was he who stopped the car to enable a second round of shots to be made. That is more than mere presence in the car.”

The appellate judges added: “In our judgment the trial judge correctly rejected the no-case-to-answer submission and therefore that ground is without merit.”

The remaining grounds on which the appeal was made include claims the trial judge erred in law when he failed to consider that murder in the Bahamas is an offence which requires specific intent; the verdict was unreasonable having regard to the evidence and unsafe in all the circumstances of the case.

The ruling noted: “The remaining grounds can be treated together just as the appellant treated them in his submissions.”

“In their submissions this ground was in effect the first ground that the evidence was insufficient to require the appellant to present a defence on the basis of the test in (R v Galbraith [1981] 1 W.L.R.1039).

“We have dealt with that earlier. In our view the evidence against the appellant was compelling. The directions given by the judge had no material error. The jury was entitled to convict. In our view any other verdict would have been perverse.

“For these reasons we dismissed the appeal and affirmed the convictions and sentences.”

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