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Defence lawyer makes no-case submission in double beheading case

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Senior staff reporter
dunkleywillisa@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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THE attorney representing Sanja Ducally, accused in the 2011 murders of 18-year-old Joeith Lynch and her mother Charmaine Rattray, yesterday made a no-case submission, arguing that the prosecution had failed to produce evidence to show “that there was a plan, aiding and abetting, and participation” on the part of his client in relation to the crime.

Rattray and her daughter were, on the night of July 19, fatally chopped and shot, then beheaded in Lauriston, St Catherine, by a group of about eight men — five of whom were later arrested and charged. Three of the men, Adrian Campbell, Roshane Goldson and Fabian Smith, have since pleaded guilty to non-capital murder and are to be sentenced, while Sanja Ducally and Kemar Riley have pleaded not guilty to murder and are on trial.

Ducally — who now stands accused of murder in the incident — in a caution statement played into the records of the court last week, said he was on his way “from a function” in the dead of night and went to investigate only to get caught up in the incident.

“On the day of the incident I was coming from a function that was supposed to be held in Lauriston. Upon reaching at the bruck way right next to where Cristal (alias for Lynch) and her mother Joy (alias for Rattray) live, I heard some noise like someone was screaming. Upon hearing this I went to look what was going on,” Ducally claimed in his video-taped statement which was shown to the court.

He said upon entering the house and Lynch's room, he saw two men, one of whom was “busy chopping Cristal”.

“I said what going on? He couldn't answer because he was busy chopping Cristal so I was standing next to him and while he was chopping, he swung the cutlass and it chop me on my hand, same time I ran outside…and I jump over the back fence and run around the lane and up on Rio Cobre Drive,” Ducally stated. He said it was while running away from the scene that he heard five to six explosions. He was, however, more concerned about his injured hand, which he wrapped with his shirt. Moments later he said the two men he had seen in the room approached him.

According to Ducally, a former assistant teacher, he didn't know who else was there (at the scene of the crime) because he didn't see.

The final witness for the prosecution yesterday testified that when he had cautioned Ducally he said: “Mi nuh do none a weh oonuh seh mi do.”

Defence attorney Anthony Williams, making the no-case submission in respect of Ducally and referencing case law, noted that his client had repeatedly indicated that his presence at the scene that night had been “to help” Lynch.

“The Crown would have to establish that Mr Ducally was purposefully present, purposefully and deliberately aided, abetted and participated. There is no such evidence,” Williams said.

“We submit there is not sufficient evidence in this case to give to the jury,” the attorney said, in arguing that Ducally was not “purposefully” at the scene.

“In this particular case there is no evidence advanced by the prosecution that Mr Ducally was a willing participant, no evidence that he was deliberately present, no evidence of a plan. The court ought not to leave the matter to the jury,” Williams said, adding that there was nothing in the evidence given by the prosecution witnesses pertaining to Ducally that incriminated him.

“What we are seeing cumulatively in the Crown's case, both witnesses have admitted that Ducally said more than once that he did not kill Cristal and her mother. That statement is to be read within the confines of what the law has said is the case about compelling hypothesis,” Williams noted.

“It is an overwhelming and resounding yes to the question of whether there was competing hypotheses in this case. There must be sufficient evidence; there is no direct evidence, there is no witness on the part of the Crown who has given evidence adverse to Mr Ducally, or against Mr Ducally, that points to guilt,” he said further.

“We contend that having regard to the palpably weak evidence in this case, it is not sufficiently established for this case to go to the jury,” Williams added.

Continuing, he said: “We submit that, upon a very meticulous and detailed examination of the caution statement, we submit that it is insufficient to leave this to the jury. Outside of the caution statement, there is no other evidence to implicate Mr Ducally. Guilt of crime by mere association has no proper part in law.

“In this particular case, the prosecution would have to prove agreement and spontaneity, which is not the case here. The prosecution failed to establish common design in many respects...the evidence in the Crown's case conflicts materially. A prima facie case has not been made out against Mr Ducally. He should not be called upon to answer the charges laid against him.”


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