Gun case thrown out over lack of evidence

| 27/10/2015 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service

Courthouse door, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Two men walked free from court Monday after an acting judge of the Grand Court threw out the case against them for possession of two illegal firearms and ammunition. The handguns in question were recovered by police during a raid at a North Side house earlier this year, and while traces of the defendants’ DNA were present on the weapons, expert evidence said it was impossible to rule out the possibility of innocent transfer. With no other evidence against them, Keith Montaque and Walter McLaughlin walked away from court after Justice Panton agreed to a no case argument by defence attorneys, Amelia Fosuhene and Michael Snape, and threw it out.

The two men, both in their twenties, were arrested alongside a 61-year-old man, who was not charged, during a targeted early morning police raid in February for possession of illegal drugs and the loaded weapons found under a bed.

However, the court heard that there were several people in the house at the time of the raid and the weapon was not recovered by police until after the arrests were made and in circumstances in which experts said there was no way to say with any certainty that the DNA had not been transferred. With no other evidence to suggest the men had anything to do with the gun, they were released by the court.

Montaque walked away from court in a very similar firearms case in 2010. One of four men arrested in another early morning raid in West Bay in 2008, in which shotguns were found in an attic, Montaque and three other men were released after a jury found them not guilty, despite traces of the men’s DNA being on the weapons. In that case lawyers also argued that contamination and transference could not be ruled out.

Tags:

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (26)

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  1. Db cooper says:

    I enjoyed this article

  2. robert young says:

    If the glove dont fit , u must aquit

  3. Anonymous says:

    Whatever happened to the revisions in the law that Baines was pushing for a while back? They were intended to make it an offence simply to have a firearm on your property and would have removed the need to establish a direct connection between the occupants and the weapon.

  4. Joe Clip says:

    Not containing the crime scene properly is the real issue here but you are forgetting we have third world police here and evidence is not need in the jurisdictions they come from as defendants seldom make it to court

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, having attended a few crime scenes over recent years you have to conclude that the concept of ‘containing a crime scene’ and ‘securing evidence’ isn’t in the RCIPS training programme.

      I well remember one still unsolved murder in West Bay where half the local population had walked past the body before anyone thought about sealing the area off.

      • SSM345 says:

        They also left live bullets on a scene for days before collecting them in another shooting in West Bay because the CSI Investigator had to get back home to watch “Dancing with the Stars”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman is one big crime scene.

  5. Mr. Logical Thinker says:

    The RCIPS job is simply to go and find the facts and submit to the prosecution team to determine if there is sufficient evidence to charge. if that is a yes, it is then down for the prosecution to present their case. if the court finds that those facts have not reached the evidential threshold required to prove beyond reasonable doubt then it must acquit. The advantage is always on the accused side because all need to be done is create doubt. in this case the attorneys did this by presenting that it was possible for DNA to be transferred thus by doing so negated the defendants DNA on the gun. At least that is my interpretation having read the article above. so rather than jump and down about whose at fault you need to read carefully what the article says. what do you expect the cops to do? they find guns under a bed in a house where the defendants were at the time of the raid, they had the guns checked for DNA which came back with the defendants, they presented these facts, the defendants said yes it is my DNA but they could have been transferred there somehow by others in the house, so you have to give me the benefit of doubt, so this was done and they got away; this is what smart attorneys do; they find ways to get their clients off. it doesn’t mean they didn’t do it; it just means the evidence wasn’t accepted.

    • Dan Brown says:

      “The weapon was not recovered …….until after the arrests and in circumstances which experts said…”

      In other words , the cops handled the suspects then the weapon, and hence the transferral argument. Nothing to do with transferral by others I am afraid, just incompetence at best. I say at best because you have to think that is absolute basics.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Freakin ridiculous .nuff said

  7. SSM345 says:

    Essentially the DPP have told our criminals by way of the results of umpteen cases being thrown out that you should make sure that if you have a gun on your property, at least 4 of your mates also live there, that way we cannot pin point exactly to whom the gun belongs because of the risk of DNA transfer.

    Well done to the DPP and RCIPS on another botched investigation.

    Yet again, nothing will happen and none of these imbeciles will be held accountable.

  8. Anonymous says:

    WTH ….so all the other charges will drop off them too??? No man this is becoming a normal thing now…Big arrest kicking in doors like Kung-foo turning the place upside down arresting people holding them holding them holing them till all evidence vanish and wipe away…The End…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Bring back Derek Haines!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The dishonest people behind this charade know who they are. Tick tock, tick tock. You have got so far with your wickedness, but when you put your heads on your pillows tonight, remember that the Almighty has seen everything, including your thoughts.
    You disgusting people. You are paid very well to apprehend these vermin. There are innocent children in this world who deserve better than this. Perhaps you have children of your own?

  11. Anonymous says:

    It’s called Catch and Release 101.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Instead of criticizing the RCIP, you should be congratulating them for their honesty. They did not plant any evidence and they did not lie about any evidence. They presented the facts as they were and while it is not the outcome everyone expected, at least it was fair.

    • SSM345 says:

      2:57, did you miss the fact that this is the 2nd time one of the defendants has gotten off the same charges for the very same reason? Whoever the RCIP Officers are need to be fired or investigated.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Lol. This is becoming the normal routine.

  14. Anonymous says:

    well done again dpp and rcips…….

  15. Harauguer says:

    OMG what are we doing, somebody needs to go to jail for this, come on DPP do you jobs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gun found in house with defendant. DNA on gun is that not enough. You can’t blame the RCIPS for this one

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree. The “innocent DNA transfer” theory is beyond belief. We have been suckered again.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think the staff and prosecutors at DPP need to get smarter with their presentation of the evidence and examination questions. Like not leaving everything to the day of the court! Offender, gun, DNA = possession at some stage = evidence. Clever defence attorneys, not so clever prosecutors.

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Cayman News Service