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Oct 2, 2018

C.C.J. Dismisses Convicted Killer’s Appeal

Dionicio Salazar

The Caribbean Court of Justice today dismissed an appeal brought by convicted murderer Dionicio Salazar. Found guilty of the 2010 murder of Marlon River, Salazar first appealed the decision of the Supreme Court in the Court of Appeal which affirmed the decision. He then took the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice which also upheld his conviction. Salazar was seeking to have his conviction overturned on the grounds that the trial judge, in this case, Justice Antoinette Moore, failed to direct herself on the weight to the untested deposition of Dean Dougal. Dougal was a key witness for the prosecution. Dougal died before he had a chance to give live testimony; however, a police officer recorded his statement instead of an independent judicial officer. Salazar’s second ground of appeal was based on a transcript from a murder trial in which he was acquitted in 2015. Salazar is of the view that Justice Moore wrongly considered a portion of a transcript. The C.C.J. disagreed and dismissed his appeal. Salazar was represented by Attorney Anthony Sylvestre.

 

Anthony Sylvestre

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney for Dionicio Salazar

“There were specific to this case but they were also of importance to practitioners generally. What I have obtained is that in the trial of the appellant there was a statement which was admitted into evidence and that statement was recorded by a police officer. Our view was that the statement ought to have, the learned trial judge ought to have in her directions made and considered the fact that the statement was recorded before a police officer instead of an independent judicial officer. The C.C.J. dismissed the appeal. I do not think that much favor was found with that argument. As I said it is a bone of contention for practitioners who have to contend with these matters in practice. The second ground of appeal related to a transcript from a previous trial which was admitted into evidence or found its way to the judge but the fact is that the Court of Appeal found that it was in fact an irregularity. That ought to not have happened but it felt that whilst an irregularity it did not raise to the level that it would have prejudice or advert, substantially affected his trial. Both grounds were advanced in the Court of Appeal and we made the ground here at the Caribbean Court of Justice. The court not found favor with the ground. They made their decision but the actual j judgment that will be delivered at a later date. We will await and as practitioners it will be very interesting to see how the court reasoned these provisions or these safeguards that we had argued are not to, in the specifics of this case, should not be given. So we just have to away to give the judgment.”

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