BAIL in the sum of $.5 million has been granted to a Diego Martin man who was charged with the shooting death of another man in 2003.
He is the second person to be granted bail for the capital offence after the Appeal Court ruled earlier this year that Section 5 of the Bail Act that precluded those accused of murder from applying for bail was unconstitutional.
Justice Carla Brown-Antoine yesterday granted the bail application to Keyon “Ratti” Anthony , who has spent the past 19 years in prison custody.
Anthony is charged with the murder of Meshach Samuel, who was shot dead while on his way to a parlour opposite his River Estate home in December 2003.
Anthony was arrested almost a year later on November 22, 2004. In 2008, he first went on trial before Justice Mark Mohammed, who ordered a retrial after the jury was unable to return a unanimous verdict.
A second attempt at a trial in 2016 was aborted when Anthony contracted tuberculosis in the prison.
In considering the application, Justice Brown-Antoine said it was the duty of the State to provide sufficient evidence to suggest the applicant was not a suitable candidate to be allowed bail. However, in this instance it failed to do so.
The judge pointed out that after reviewing the Bail Act, it was her opinion that Anthony was not a threat to prosecution witnesses, nor was there any evidence to suggest he would flee the jurisdiction.
As part of his bail, though, Anthony is not allowed to come within 100 metres of any witnesses in the case. He is not to have any contact with them either directly or indirectly; must surrender his passport; must not apply for a passport and must report to West End police twice per week.
In addition, he was placed on a daily curfew between 9 p.m., and 5 a.m. the following morning. Officers of the West End station are also allowed to enter his home without a warrant at any time to ensure he is at the location during the curfew period.
Should Anthony fail to abide by any of the conditions, he will be arrested and bail automatically revoked.
The person who stands as his surety must also be present in court at every hearing before his trial takes place.
Anthony was represented by attorneys Ravi Rajcoomar and Valmiki Mahabir, while the State was represented by prosecutor Giselle Ferguson-Heller.
The first success
Since the Court of Appeal ruling in March, Anthony is only the second person to successfully apply for bail on a murder charge.
The first was Joel King, who was granted bail by Master Nalini Singh in the sum of $750,000 the following month.
The master had also attached 21 conditions to King’s bail.
To date, however, he remains in prison custody, having been unable to secure the bail.
The Appeal Court ruling came after former murder accused Akilli Charles filed a constitutional claim at the High Court contending it was unlawful and unconstitutional for murder accused to automatically be denied bail.
While the High Court claim was eventually dismissed, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal, comprising Chief Justice Ivor Archie, along with Justice Mira Dean-Armorer and Malcolm Holdip, unanimously upheld Charles’s appeal.
The State has since appealed the Appeal Court’s ruling at the Privy Council. That appeal has not yet been heard.
An appeal has also been filed against the decision of the master to grant bail to King. A decision in that appeal is pending.
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