Chief Justice Brian Sykes has indicated his disinterest in accepting evidence relating to a firearm that investigators recovered with the help of an ex-gangster. Poor record-keeping of the chain of custody is informing his decision. The doubt is drawing more attention to the historic gang trial that could become a landmark case in the region.
Alleged Klansman gangster turned crown witness told the enthralling story of how he recovered a rifle from defendant Roel Taylor under the pretense of repairing it. That was when he handed over the firearm to two investigators instead. These same investigators later testified how they entered the firearm into evidence.
That evidence is now under threat of being disregarded by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes who took issue with how the chain of custody records was kept.
After requesting the rifle be brought into the court, Sykes notes when the rifle was brought to the Caymanas Police Station, neither detective sergeant had anything to do with the labeling of the firearm and there was no record from the station clerk documenting, where the gun was left that is consistent with witness testimony.
The chain of custody picks up when the ballistics officer received the firearm for examination.
He questions why the prosecution did not have that station clerk testify as that would provide affirmative evidence.
He ended the exchange by saying “let me put you out of your misery, the evidence is not good enough” Sykes also chided the prosecution for inadequate evidence in identifying defendant Jason Brown as Citypuss. Calling back to recorded phone calls, the prosecution says being positively identified twice by their key witness and a detective proves that he is connected to the gang.
Sykes however says the credibility of the detective alone cannot stand. This same detective says he visited the horizon remand centre where Brown was allegedly held so he could put a face to the voice of the man he heard on the recordings. Justice Sykes says he “did not understand the reasoning” behind having the detective go there without using technology to capture affirmative evidence.
Sykes suggests …though cell site information indicates that a phone number assigned to Citypuss made calls in the vicinity of the prison, inmate records could have confirmed his location at a certain time, and further prove the detective’s claim. He also suggests the detective could have recorded his visit with the inmate as further proof.
But “we are where we are” Sykes accepts.
The prosecution concluded their responses. Court resumes on Thursday at 11 am.
Reporter: Jhanielle Powell