Defence wants prosecutor removed from Vincia James murder trial

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

ANR confirms the commencement of the criminal trial in which ex-boyfriend Mikhail Gomes was indicted to stand trial by jury on October 4, 2022 for the alleged murder of missing girlfriend Vincia James.

The trial saw the abrupt adjournment to October 19, 2022.

Some media houses described this development as ‘mysterious.’

ANR reports that sources close to the criminal trial indicated a serious, but explainable twist to the proceedings.

It was revealed that an application for an Order of Recusement of contracted Crown prosecutor, attorney Andrew O’ kola,’  was underway.

This was said to have been undertaken by defence attorney, Lawrence Daniels over an alleged visit to the prison by the prosecutor in 2019 and the alleged payment of legal fees.

It is not clear whether the alleged contact with the accused was communicated to the Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Armstrong, whose office reportedly engaged the private- practicing attorney to act as Crown Prosecutor.

The development came after the Crown Prosecutor addressed a mixed 12-member jury by outlining the case to be presented by the prosecution on behalf of the Crown.

Acceding to a request by the defence counsel Daniels, Trial Judge, Justice Colin Williams reportedly wisely rose from the Bench and accommodated both Defence and Prosecution in the Judge’s Chambers.

After the brief absence, the sitting was resumed after clearing the Courtroom of both the jury and members in the public gallery.

Both defence and Crown prosecutor  were reportedly further heard by the trial judge.

The defence was reportedly given up to Friday October 7, 2022 to file the relevant documentation.

A date for hearing of the application for the Recusal Order has not yet been fixed.

Legal luminaries privately questioned the rationale for the hiring of the private-practicing attorney, given the presumptive prosecutorial competence of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the battery of attorneys at his office.

ANR. will bring up-dates as events unfold and as information is received.

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