A Diego Martin man, who has been on remand for murder for almost two decades, has become the second murder accused to be granted bail based on a landmark ruling from the Court of Appeal.
Delivering a decision yesterday, High Court Judge Carla Brown-Antoine upheld Keyon “Ratti” Anthony’s bail application and granted him $500,000 bail.
In her decision, Justice Brown-Antoine ruled that State prosecutors failed to prove that Anthony would be a threat to witnesses or likely abscond if granted bail.
As part of the conditions of his bail, Anthony was ordered to stay 100 metres away from witnesses in his case, to not leave the country and to report to the West End Police Station twice weekly until his case is eventually determined at trial.
He was also placed on a 9 am to 5 pm curfew and ruled that he would be a suitable candidate for electronic monitoring.
Anthony is accused of murdering fellow Diego Martin resident Meshach Samuel on December 10, 2003. Samuel was on his way to a shop in River Estate when he was ambushed by three gunmen who shot him several times.
Anthony was arrested almost a year after Samuel’s murder and went on trial before then High Court Judge and current Appellate Judge Mark Mohammed in 2008.
The 12-member jury in the trial could not come to a unanimous verdict for Anthony and a retrial was ordered. His retrial in 2016 had to be aborted as he contracted tuberculosis while in prison.
Anthony walks with the aid of crutches because of a gunshot injury he sustained before being implicated for Samuel’s murder.
Anthony is the second person to be granted bail for murder following a landmark Court of Appeal ruling in a constitutional lawsuit brought by former murder accused Akilli Charles.
Delivering a judgment in late February, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judges Mira Dean-Armorer and Malcolm Holdip ruled that Section 5(1) of the Bail Act of 1994, which previously precluded judicial officers from considering bail for persons accused of murder, was unconstitutional.
The appeal panel ruled that the segment of the Bail Act was not reasonably justifiable in a society that is concerned about the rights and freedoms of the individual.
The Office of the Attorney General sought a suspension of the ruling pending a final appeal but it was refused by both the local Appeal Court and the Privy Council.
In an affidavit in support of the stay, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, revealed that within six weeks of the judgement, there were 78 bail applications.
Gaspard also sought to explain the difficulties faced by his office in responding to the multitude of applications, including being hampered by the fact that it had to rely on the T&T Police Service (TTPS) and T&T Prison Service for reports on prisoners to adequately respond.
An expedited hearing of the appeal over Charles’ judgement is expected to be heard by the Privy Council early next month.
In late March, Belmont resident Joel King became the first person to benefit from the judgement when he was granted $1.5 million bail by High Court Master Nalini Singh, who applied almost two dozen conditions.
King, however, has not been able to access bail as he faces separate criminal charges for which he is yet to be granted bail.
Master Singh’s decision is currently being appealed by the DPP’s Office.
Anthony was represented by Ravi Rajcoomar and Valmiki Mahabir, while Giselle Ferguson-Heller represented the DPP’s Office.