After spending 17 years on remand and facing two trials, a 35-year-old man from La Brea has been freed of murdering his Jamaican friend.
Although the Court of Appeal quashed Kelloy Koon Koon’s most recent conviction from 2015, in February, it had reserved its decision on whether he should face a retrial.
Delivering a ruling on the issue, during a brief virtual hearing, yesterday morning, Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Mark Mohammed, and Prakash Moosai ruled that a second retrial would not be appropriate based on the length of time that had elapsed from the incident.
The judges also noted that the evidence against Koon Koon could not be described as “strong” in principle.
Koon Koon, 35, of High Road, La Brea, was charged with murdering 22-year-old Jamaican national Mark Brown.
Brown was last seen alive on February 1, 2003. His body was found dumped on a gravel road off the M2 Ring Road, Debe, the following day. He had been shot twice.
Koon Koon was convicted after his first trial in 2007, however, he successfully challenged his conviction based on the alleged incompetence of the lawyer who defended him..
Koon Koon was again convicted in 2015, which led to the recent appeal.
In his appeal, Koon Koon’s lawyers contended that the judge in his second trial failed to properly direct the jury on how to consider the evidence of the State’s main witnesses, who participated in the crime and implicated Koon Koon.
The Appeal Court agreed as they said the jury should have been told to approach their evidence with caution as they may have been attempting to implicate Koon Koon to avoid them being prosecuted.
Koon Koon was represented by Jagdeo Singh, Daniel Khan, Ula Nathai-Lutchman, and Michelle Gonzales, while Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) George Busby represented the State. (DA)