Defence attorney says Crown failed to prove case
One of the accused killers of a St Catherine mother and daughter, both of whom were decapitated, has sought to win his freedom by arguing that the evidence presented by prosecutors is insufficient to prove his guilt.
Sanja Ducally is on trial, along with Kemar Riley, for the 2011 killing of Charmaine Cover-Rattray, 40, and her 18-year-old daughter, Joeith Lynch, inside their home in Lauriston, St Catherine. Both women were beheaded.
Prosecutors Paula Llewellyn and Hodine Williams yesterday wrapped up their case after the final police witness gave evidence in the near two-week trial.
Ducally’s attorney, Anthony Williams, in a no-case submission to presiding judge, Justice Vivienne Harris, argued that there was no evidence on the prosecution’s case that his client was a willing participant in the killings.
“The evidence is so tenuous that on the prosecution’s case, if taken at its highest level, a jury, properly and correctly directed, would not convict on the evidence,” Williams asserted. “There is no evidence that he was deliberately present. There is no evidence that he knew of the plan [to kill the women]. The court ought not to leave the matter to the jury simply for leaving it.”
Among the evidence presented by prosecutors is a video caution statement Ducally gave police investigators after he was arrested.
In the video, which was recorded just over a month after the killings and played for jurors, Ducally admitted that he was passing the women’s house on the night of July 20, 2011 when he “heard like someone was screaming” and went inside “to look what was going on”.
He told investigators that he was standing next to a man he identified as ‘Rushane’, who was chopping Lynch.
“While he was chopping, he swung the cutlass and it chopped me on my hand,” he recounted.
There is also evidence that he told police investigators, before the video-recorded statement, that he was passing and heard ‘Crystal’ – Lynch’s pet name – screaming and went to help her when he was chopped on his left wrist.
Williams contended that outside of the caution statement, there is no evidence implicating the former St Catherine Primary School teacher in the killings. He said that for the case against his client to continue on circumstantial evidence, the Crown must provide evidence that “leads in one direction and one direction only”.
“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. A prima facie case has not been made out against Mr Ducally and he should not be called upon to answer the charges against him,” the attorney insisted.
Llewellyn is to respond when the trial continues today.