Attorney defends bail for accused in Crystal Towers murder
THE defence attorney for the accused in the Crystal Towers murder case is challenging claims by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) that his client should not have been granted bail in the parish court given the weight of the evidence against him.
"Under the Bail Act, there are several factors that a court must take into consideration when granting bail, and the law is very clear even if it is a very serious offence," Anthony Williams told the Jamaica Observer.
"The main consideration for the court is whether or not the accused person is likely to turn up for their trial or not."
Accused Phillip Brown was offered $1-million bail by Parish Judge Andrea Pettigrew-Collins when he appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court last month following a successful bail application by Williams. Bail was offered on condition that he surrender his travel documents with a stop order in place, report to the Half-Way-Tree Police Station daily, and abide by a curfew order.
But subsequently, DPP Paula Llewellyn said, given the weight of the evidence against Brown, including a caution statement in which he allegedly confessed to killing his common-law wife, it was unfortunate that he was offered bail.
After receiving several complaints, Llewellyn entered a conditional nolle prosequi, and the case was subsequently terminated and transferred to the Circuit Court.
Williams will make another bail application before the court on May 3.
He argued that there are Privy Council cases and local Jamaican court cases which state that evidence should not be the primary consideration in offering bail.
"Certainly, the parish judge did take into account the seriousness of the offence, but was constrained by law to grant him bail," Williams said.
Meanwhile, a July 21 date has been set for plea and case management.
Brown, a 35-year-old construction worker, was arrested last December and charged with murder after he reportedly confessed to killing 31-year-old Kerry-Ann Wilson. It is alleged that the woman was beaten to death and that Brown wrapped her body in a tarpaulin and tried to dump her in a gully near Crystal Towers apartments on Old Hope Road in St Andrew, where they had resided.