Judge grants second successful bail application for murder

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A Diego Martin man facing a murder charge that is two decades old has been granted bail.

On Friday, Justice Carla Brown-Antoine granted bail to Keyon “Ratti” Anthony, of Diego Martin.

She said it was the State’s burden to provide evidence to support its opposition to the bail application, but having considered the submissions, and reviewing the Bail Act, she found Anthony was not a threat to prosecution witnesses, nor was there evidence he was likely to flee.

Anthony got bail of $500,000, to be approved by a court registrar.

His conditions for bail are that he has to stay 100 metres from all witnesses, have no contact with them, report to the West End police station twice a week on the days stipulated by the court, and not apply for a passport.

He was also put on a 9 pm-5 am curfew and the police have the authority to enter his home at any time to see if he is there during curfew hours. She also said he was a suitable candidate for electronic monitoring.

His bail surety also has to attend court every time the matter is called before trial and during the trial when one is set.

Anthony has been remanded for almost two decades for the December 10, 2003, murder of Meshach Samuel, who was shot by three men on his way to a parlour opposite his home at River Estate.

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 did not return with unanimous verdicts after a seven-week-long trial.

A second attempt at a trial in 2016 was aborted when Anthony contracted tuberculosis in the prison.

As a result of this, he lost a lung, two ribs, and most of his teeth, according to a medical report presented in his bail application.

Anthony, who is now in his 40s, also walks with the aid of crutches because of an injury to his leg from a gunshot wound sometime before he was arrested for murder. In 2013, he had surgery on his leg.

Anthony was represented by attorneys Ravi Rajcoomar and Valmika Mahabir. The State was represented by prosecutor Giselle Ferguson-Heller.

Anthony’s was the second successful bail application since the challenge of former murder accused Akili Charles. The court held that Section 5(1) of the Bail Act of 1994, which previously precluded judicial officers from considering bail for those accused of murder, was unconstitutional. This paved the way for anyone charged with murder to apply for bail, for the first time in over a century.

The State’s appeal of that decision will be heard in June at the Privy Council, which also refused to grant a stay or suspension of the ruling, leaving the way clear for judicial officers to consider bail applications for anyone charged with murder.

Since the ruling in Akili Charles, the first successful bail applicant, Joel King was granted $1.5 million bail with heavy conditions by High Court master Nalini Singh. The State has also appealed King’s bail.

In June, another High Court judge is expected to give her decision on the bail applications of two men charged with a 2002 murder in Arima.

On Monday, the Privy Council is expected to give its decision on the lawfulness of the mandatory death sentence imposed on a convicted killer in the appeal of Jay Chandler, who has asked the court to determine whether the death penalty should be a discretionary sentence.

Convicted killer Chandler has challenged his sentence on the basis that the mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional, as deemed by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in a ruling out of Barbados in 2018.

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