Brothers challenge judge in murder appeal

| 07/11/2018 | 15 Comments
Cayman News Service

Justin Ramoon (far left) and Osbourne Douglas escorted by prison officers as the court visits the scene of Jason Powery’s murder

(CNS): Osbourne Douglas (32) and Justin Ramoon (27), who are in prison in the UK serving life sentences of 34 and 35 years for the murder of Jason Powery in a gang-related shooting in George Town in 2015, argued that their convictions were not safe during an appeal hearing via phone and video link on Wednesday. With both men serving their time in separate British jails in the north of England, their lead attorneys appeared via video conference from their chambers in London and the inmates on phone lines from their prisons.

The men said that the two witnesses who sealed their convictions colluded to blame them for the killing, which they claim they did not commit.

Douglas and Ramoon have appealed the conviction on the basis that in his ruling, Justice Charles Quin, who heard the case alone without a jury, did not explain why he believed that the two witnesses in the case were telling the truth.

The case hung largely on the testimony of two other men, who were understood to be associated with gangs and were no strangers to the criminal justice system. One of them was also rewarded with a heavily reduced sentence in his own firearms case following the conviction of Douglas and Ramoon.

But the brothers claimed the witnesses had colluded to frame them. They said that after they were arrested, they denied the murder but had put forward the names of at least one of the witnesses as possible suspects. The convicted men argued that the witnesses had turned suspicion back on them because that they had suggested they (the witnesses) were the killers.

The only other evidence to support the convictions was CCTV footage, which did not actually show Powery being shot or either of the brothers with a gun.

The lawyers for Douglas and Ramoon told the appeal court that the judge in the trial should have given details in his ruling as to why he wrote in his conclusion of the case that the two witnesses were “truthful, accurate and reliable”, a finding that the lawyers described as fundamentally flawed.

Prosecutors defended the judge’s findings and said that he was entitled to come to a conclusion about the witnesses, given that he had observed the two men, who were on the stand over a period of four days, when they were giving evidence in chief and being cross-examined. The crown argued that he was entitled to reach a decision about their honesty, which he also found was supported by the CCTV footage.

The appeal court said it would deliver its decision in writing, as it adjourned Wednesday lunchtime. The judges also fixed a 6am sitting for Thursday in order to hear arguments regarding the 34- and 35-year tariffs given to the brothers as their life sentences. The early call is to accommodate the time difference between Cayman and England, where the UK lawyers representing the brothers as well as the appellants are located.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Who pays for this? Legal aid should not be allowed for appeals. If lawyers think they have a chance of winning then they should be allowed to do appeals on a no-won no-fee basis.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Its about time this flimsy case fell apart.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Leave them exactly where they are, these guys are to be considered traitors to this country with their long history or drugs and violence and if they get back on the streets someone else will pay with their life. Leave them right there in their cells

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Does it matter that he may be innocent the third time? It would be good if the real killer(s) was/were found and the innocent ones set free. If indeed him and his brother are guilty as charged, then they are where they belong.

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  5. Susan Cowans says:

    Does it matter that he may be innocent the third time? It would be good if the real killer(s) was/were found and the innocent ones set free. If indeed him and his brother are guilty as charged, then they are where they belong.

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  6. Wan says:

    Let him rot it there! No place out here for murderers.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Douglas has already beaten 2 murder convictions if I’m not mistaken. If they even think of letting him go again, Caymans judicial system needs a serious kick in the ass.

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Cayman News Service