Prominent lawyer spells out defending murder accused
A guilty sentence built on tenuous evidence only undermines the justice system, a leading defence lawyer has opined.
Charles Richardson took to social media saying he was often asked by the public “how it feels to have done more murder trials than any other local lawyer, and to have won more than 75 per cent of them”.
He added: “I usually do not provide an answer. But today I will.”
Mr Richardson’s post on September 9 made no reference to any specific case.
However, it went on Facebook hours after his client, Davin Dill, was acquitted in the Supreme Court, with Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe highlighting “individual and collective weaknesses” in the prosecution’s evidence.
Mr Dill was cleared of the charges of murdering 22-year-old Joshua Rowse, along with possessing a bladed article, specifically a knife, in a public place on June 14, 2020, after Mr Justice Wolffe instructed the jury to find him not guilty on both counts.
Mr Richardson, who was Called to the Bermuda Bar in 2005, has had a career of high-profile cases as a defence lawyer.
He wrote: “Every verdict in a murder trial brings mixed feelings.
“On the one hand, there is my client whose innocence I am duty-bound to vigorously defend. And then on the other hand, there is the family of the victim who have suffered a tragic, heartbreaking loss and who may feel that they did not get the justice needed to assuage their grief.”
Mr Richardson said the public needed to appreciate the principles underpinning the constitutional right to a free and fair trial.
“What I do as an advocate does not involve moral judgments or sympathy,” he wrote.
“My job is to focus on the facts, the data, the information, and the evidence gathered and presented.”
He likened the process to a surgeon’s focus on “the internal organs of his patient and not the personalities of the patient nor the person that may have put him there”, adding that “so too do I focus on the subject matter and not the emotions around it”.
“My job is to test, scrutinise, question and analyse the evidence to ensure the witnesses are being fair and honest – and that the police have been fair honest as well.”
He added: “A conviction based upon weak, questionable evidence does not serve the cause of justice, it only weakens it.”
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