Home Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ overturns conviction of Japhet Bennett

CCJ overturns conviction of Japhet Bennett

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The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) overturned the conviction of Japhet Bennett, who was convicted in February 2013 for the murder of 37-year-old Ellis “Pepper Gacho” Meighan Sr., in September 2009.  The court based its ruling solely on an unsupported statement of the witness, Marlon Middleton, Meighan’s brother-in-law, who had denied parts of his statement to the police that had identified Bennett as standing over the body with a gun.   The statement was the sole evidence upon which the conviction was based. The CCJ was of the view that since there was no other evidence to corroborate the statement the trial judge should have stopped the case from going to the jury by upholding the no case submission. The case is revolutionary since it sets for the first time the test to be used by the judge in determining whether or not to allow the evidence to be left to the jury.  Today’s decision was handed down by video streaming and the attorneys for both sides were situated at their respective offices during the hearing.  At the time, the prisoner was at the Belize Central Prison. After the judgment was handed down, the family made their way to the prison to receive upon his release.

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