Gun suspect’s self-defence leads to acquittal

| 06/04/2017 | 39 Comments

(CNS): Mark Melado Llewellyn, who was accused of possessing an illegal handgun found under a stove at his North Side apartment, cleared his own name without an attorney. Llewellyn was acquitted by a jury following a trial where he defended himself against the deputy director of public prosecutions, who handled the case for the crown. The jury of five women and two men returned a unanimous not guilty verdict after he managed to raise enough doubt that the .38 caliber semi-automatic handgun recovered by the police was not his.

The gun was found during a police raid at the home he was renting, but Llewellyn had only been in the apartment for a few days and denied knowing anything about the weapon. Although traces of his DNA were found on the firearm, he managed to convince the jury that it was transferred there either deliberately or inadvertently by the police. Officers had searched his home with no witnesses present as he was at the police station at the time of the raid and it was his landlady who gave the police access.

Local attorney John Meghoo appeared in the case briefly to help Llewellyn with the questioning of the technical DNA experts, who said they could not say how Llewellyn’s DNA got on the gun. But for the rest of the trial the defendant was on his own, and although he did not take the stand, he argued his own case.

It took the jury just one hour to reach a verdict.

Llewellyn’s remained in custody following the verdict as he is still dealing with a number of summary court cases, including drug and burglary offences.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (39)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You have been given a Life Line bobo! Don’t mess up again or you’ll be see a lot of men for a long time=Cayman Hotel=Northward lol.

  2. Sharkey says:

    What part of his DNA was on the gun , finger print , or what ? If it was his finger print , it would be no way he could have denied it . But when one not being a Lawyer can convince the Jury , I say he must be very smart or scared the Jury .

  3. lo-cal says:

    Hey CNS, how about you add a counter to the top of the page to keep track of wins ans losses for the DPP. That would be good entertainment!

    • Anonymous says:

      What you don’t want to do is ‘frighten’ the the ODPP off of taking ‘balance of evidence’ cases to the court. Remember, it is the court that determines guilt, until then you’re innocent, and if only slam dunk cases are adjudicated then justice looses direction in the middle.

      • lo-cal says:

        What we want to do is frighten the DPP to do their job properly which will hopefully force the RCIP to do their job properly which will free up the courts to do their job properly.

        I know of a few cases that went to court and I called the decision way before a single word was spoken. Why? I got common sense. I have basic knowledge of law at best and could see that there was no case to be had. I get it that this is a gun case and they were hoping for admittance of guilt but there are other cases in which the mind is baffled how it got to court.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is not the first case where this has happened. There was also a case where the Police deliberately planted a suspects DNA on a weapon! There are criminals on both sides of the law if you get what I am trying to say!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey if the glove doesn’t fit,then they have to acquit

  6. Anonymous says:

    This case demonstrates, regardless of your opinion of it, that the Police need to begin ‘bending over backwards’ in their procedures until the public again ‘trust’ them enough to convict on a case like this, i.e., there is no question in anyone’s mind that the police do NOT transfer DNA, even accidentally, etc.

  7. Diogenes says:

    There are plenty of examples of suspects being acquitted – both by juries and judge alone – on a “transfer” defence, not only for DNA but gun shot residue as well. There is at least the possibility that a police officer who has handled items with the defendants DNA on them, and then handled the gun, or in GSR cases, fired (other) firearms and then handled the gun, transferred the traces onto the weapon or item. That’s why the experts are unable to categorically state how the DNA ended up on the gun. The only way you can avoid that is if the weapon isn’t directly handled by firearms officers or those conducting the rest of the search, or for example if fresh gloves are applied before picking up the weapon. The best way of dealing with such defences is to demonstrate that scrupulous forensic techniques were applied during the search, preferably with video support to deal with those who may believe the transfer was deliberate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Common sense really tell the Police not to touch a firearm leave it until foresics comes to move it.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem may be a ‘lack of resources’. There may not be enough scene of crime teams for all of the ‘simple’ cases, e.g., found a gun, so the police constables need to be able to process a ‘simple’ crime scene (like this one) and produce suitable evidence (and chain of custody, etc.) that there is NO question of impropriety, accidental or otherwise. (Excepting of course the assumption of institutional fraud, which would have even the scene of crimes officers’ evidence disbelieved.)

        One good ‘public’ discussion we can have off of this case is “do the police always need to have an independent 3rd party view their searches?” That was the claim here that since only the police could testify to what they found and what they did then they couldn’t be trusted. And anyone saying ‘yes 3rd party are needed’ need to also explain who will be acceptable 3rd parties. (Who would have the skills to keep track of what the police are doing at a crime scene well enough to reassure you? It can’t be the accused obviously since they might not always be available and if you don’t trust the police by corollary you can’t trust all of the accused either.)

  8. Anonymous says:

    He should go to law school….

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lol…ah boy, typical ol’ Mark!
    Justice has been served I guess.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Who needs lawyers nowadays?? lmao

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just wow . Awful police work leads to a trial so easy to defend that a slam dunk prosecution is successfully defended against the crown without even the need for representation . Bravo cayman , bravo.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There seems to be something wrong here, his DNA found all over the gun and he claims it was not his. Would a trial by judge alone have reached the same verdict, I doubt it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jury must have thought that DNA stands for Dat Naugh Anyting

      • Noneyah says:

        No as the old saying goes its better a guilty man walk free rather than an innocent man being sent to prison. I’m no expert but I can say this much they executed a search warrant when he was in custody, if he was in the police custody what was so hard in taking him back to the location and conducted the search in his presence. Secondly DNA does not prove possession. And thirdly DNA would mostly certainly not be the only deciding factor but in my mind it was the salient point coupled with not taking a suspect who is in police custody back to the scene an executing the search warrant.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why should you need to take the suspect to the search? Unless you have already decided that the police cannot be trusted.

          And, using this case as a good example, even if the suspect had been there if they chose not to testify they would not be in a position to testify that the police did, or did not, do something that may or may not have transferred DNA. But they, or their lawyer, can always put that question to the expert witness, and thus in the jury’s mind, knowing that the lab-tech can never say how something got somewhere. All the expert can give is the results of their analysis. ‘No, your honour, I cannot say that a yeti did not place the gun at the crime scene, after wiping it down with the accused’s dirty laundry. I can only say to 99.99…9% certainty that it is the accused’s DNA on the gun.’

          And how would you adjudicate searches where the suspect (if there is one) is not available to ‘oversee’ the search.

          • Noneyah says:

            No 8 57am it has nothing to do with the police not being trusted, its a matter of common sense why not take him back to the scene seeing he was already in custody, am sure the outcome would have been entirely different wouldnt you agree. Now had he ran from the scene upon police arrival and remained on the run and the search then being conducted am sure the jury would have came back guilty its only common sense if you run from the police 9/10 you are hiding something. But this wasnt the case he was in Police custody From what I understand as the accused I am supposed to be present for a search not just being there but paying full attention to whats transpiring. Clearly the jury were in doubt leas than an hour to reach a not guilty verdict!!! I am sure the fact that he was in custody during the search was at the fore front of the foremans mind as well as the others. Judge Hendersons house wasnt searched in his absence while he was in custody he was there to observe.

            • Fred says:

              So in your world criminals may be prepared to lie about whether they did a crime, but if they were witnesses to a search they would testify honestly about the search? They took him back and he then just said yup I saw them plant the DNA. Come on. His presence makes no difference. The problem is the police not being able to explain how the search procedures eliminated any reasonable doubt that they may have handled other items with his DNA and then the weapon.

              • Noneyah says:

                No him not being present for the search made every bit of difference, if he had been present would he have been able to use the same defense claiming DNA transfer and that the weapon was planted in his absence and that was how is DNA came to be present on the firearm I beg to differ on that note. And if he had used that looney defense the jury would be like whatever that’s nonsense you were present how could they plant a weapon and you not see. He would have had to try some other defense if he were present. DNA does not prove possession just in case you weren’t aware. So the question is why not take him back to the premises or have the landlord witness the search that could have attested to the findings. Look at the recent case of Walter Jordan Mclaughlin and Keith Rohan Montaque in the first trial the case was thrown out due to lack of evidence as you see that was appealed and both men found guilty wonder why that was. And that case was largely based onj DNA evidence. I will tell you why, they were both present when the search for drugs were carried out on Mclaughlins residence in 2015 and drugs ammo and the two guns were recovered. It was obvious they knew the guns were there why because it was either one of them that placed them under the bed. Let me jog your memory just last year Toney Elford Bush successfully defended himself on a firearms charge which was strikingly similar to this one in the sense that both defendants weren’t present during the search. So again the defendant who was in custody and was renting the apartment should have been present and the jury would have found him guilty if he was. The jury aren’t the triers of the law they are the triers of the facts they observe each witness, ask questions for clarification and from the conclusion of testimony or before they already know whether they believe your account, part of your account or none of your account. So since you Fred @ 4:26pm have come to the conclusion that the defendant being present for the search would have made no difference and would have yielded the same results, name any local firearm case that a search was conducted and the defendants were present while that search took place and firearm recovered and or any other evidence found and labeled that the defendant used the defense the firearm was planted and DNA transfer is to account for my DNA being present on the firearm I can name them for you, absolutely none!! Sometimes the jury get it right and other times its dead wrong. The long and short of it some officers do not do proper searches, one officer will search an entire house wearing one pair of gloves. I can name so many different instances where the circumstances are similar to this one with one exception the defendants being present and they were all found guilty or plead guilty and received short sentences, of course those were cases before the mandatory minimum 10 year law came into effect. I can bet my a@# that if they had went to execute the warrant with him being there his ass would have been found guilty. Any doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused. Points he argued were 1) I was in custody at George Town Police Station, they searched my apartment why weren’t I taken to observe the search, 2) the interview that was done on him they were unsure of when the it took place whether it before the search or after? You get the picture, all of this doubt raises questions that cannot be answered therefore his account seems very plausible and if it doesn’t I am still in doubt, the Crown has an obligation to reach that standard and burden of proof beyond any reasonable doubt in this case the jury were clearly in doubt from the beginning hence less than an hour deliberating, come on you dnt have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. SO EXPLAIN TO ME WHY IT WAS NOT NECESSARY TO HAVE HIM WITNESS THE SEARCH SINCE IT WOULD HAVE MADE NO DIFFERENCE. It has nothing to do with trusting the Police its the rule of law that dates back as far as the 1800’s and 1900’s. The scales of justice are even not tipped to one side or the other. If you know any thing about law you would also know that asking certain types of questions by Prosecutors is a no no and if successfully argued by an attorney can result in an acquittal. Why because it reverses the burden of proof upon the defendant who does not have to prove his innocence but the Crown who must prove his guilt beyond the high Standard and Burden of Proof beyond all reasonable doubt. I can go on but my response is way too long already. On the contrary the only time Police doesn’t require an individual to be present is when the suspects presence isn’t practicable because for example he/she absconded upon Police arrival.

              • Noneyah says:

                And in the case of Toney Elford Bush, when the search took place he was not present however where the firearm was found was in a home he lived all of his life and his DNA would be everywhere in the home even under the bloody tiles. The jurors made the right decision in Marks case, its better a guilty man walk free than an innocent man be sent to prison. On the other its not a matter of if the criminals may be prepared to lie about whether they did a crime or not its a fact they are ready to do so. Its not about testifying honestly about the search, its common sense, they would not be in the position to use the defense DNA transfer but would have to find some other fault to rely upon like example the officers notes say that the search was executed at 6am when the sunrose however checks revealed that the sunrose that day at 615am. Warrants cannot be executed any other time other than sunrise or sunset. The officers are lying and as such the warrant was executed before sunrise therefore the fruits of the tree are tainted. You get the picture.

              • Anonymous says:

                In other words; the criminals are smarter than the po-po.

                Fuck, we’re screwed….

    • Tellin' It Like It Is says:

      First off, the Police shouldn’t have searched his apartment WITHOUT HIM PRESENT. Secondly, DNA experts couldn’t even say how his DNA got on the gun. I think the jury made the right decision, even though it’s very clear that you think they should’ve found him guilty.

      • Anonymous says:

        The police don’t require the suspect to be present, no expert can say for certain how the DNA got on the gun unless they observed the defendant handing it. The prosecutor should have explained how difficult it would be to transfer the DNA to the gun just by searching, and the likelihood that the the simplest answer was direct contact.

    • Rob says:

      On the gun, not all over the gun. Stop trying to twist things into what you wish it was. Bad mind person.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is something wrong here but you have sadly missed the point. How is it possible for the deputy DPP to bring a case that is so easily defended by someone who has no legal representation?

      • Anonymous says:

        Equally, if the ODPP scored 100% something would be wrong there too. They have to bring cases ‘on the balance of evidence’ and let the judge & jury sort them out. And that means losing some. Because ‘balance of evidence’ does NOT equal ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’.

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