The man facing a retrial for murdering four-year-old Amy Emily Annamunthodo has not decided whether or not he wants a jury or a judge to determine his innocence or guilt.
During a case management hearing of Marlon King’s matter before Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas yesterday morning, prosecutor Indira Chinebas stated that King was still yet to decide the mode of his trial, that is whether he wants to be tried by a judge and jury or a judge alone.
King’s outstanding decision on the issue would most likely impact how quickly he gets his retrial as only judge-alone trials are currently available with the ongoing closure of court buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While addressing Justice St Clair-Douglas, King’s lawyer Mario Merritt said that he would not be filing a defence statement in the case prior to the trial unless the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) agrees that it would not bring fresh evidence once the trial begins.
Merritt pointed to a recent trial, in which two men were convicted of the murder of six-year-old Sean Luke, where DNA evidence was disclosed while it was ongoing.
The case was adjourned to October 27 for another status hearing.
King is accused of murdering four-year-old Amy at his Ste Madeleine Road, Marabella, home on May 15, 2006.
Medical reports showed that the child was burnt with cigarettes on her vagina, inner thigh, and forearm an hour before she died. She also suffered multiple internal and external injuries throughout her body, including a broken rib and bruised organs.
In their decision in late July, Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Mark Mohammed, and Malcolm Holdip ruled that former President and High Court Judge Anthony Carmona made several errors when he presided over King’s trial in 2012.
The appeal panel ruled that in summing up the case to the jury, that eventually convicted King, Carmona misdirected them on the evidence of King’s ex-wife Lou-Ann Davis, who testified over domestic abuse she allegedly endured, and of his neighbour Anthony Rocke, who testified that he saw King punching the child 20 to 30 times while she hung from a cloth tied to her hair and attached to a door ledge.
During the trial, King claimed that he had left the child with her mother and Rocke and suggested that he (Rocke) was in fact the culprit.
In their decision, the appeal panel rejected submissions from King’s attorneys that he should be acquitted of the charge based on the inordinate length of time between the offence and an eventual retrial.
While the panel accepted that the pace of the criminal justice system was “far from ideal”, it noted that such delays were not sufficient to trump the public’s interest in having King’s innocence or guilty determined in a fresh trial.
“In our view, the balance has been tipped in favour of the ordering of a retrial. We are satisfied that the interests of justice will be served by so ordering,” Justice Mohammed, who delivered the panel’s unanimous decision, said.
King’s lawyers had requested that the retrial be put on hold while they challenge the Appeal Court’s decision before the United Kingdom-based Privy Council.
However, Justice St Clair-Douglas rejected the suggestion as he noted that they had not obtained a stay of the Appeal Court’s decision to order an urgent retrial.
King is also being represented by Karunaa Bisramsingh.