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Providing fresh hope for justice

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An unsolved crime is never closed for Bermuda's Case Review Unit.

The four-strong team, who have over 100 years of police experience between them, have delved back into dozens of the Island's most notorious and shocking murders meticulously going over files, video interviews and CCTV footage looking for fresh leads.

Detective Sergeant Dean Martin, former Assistant Commissioner Carlton Adams, Steve Horsley and David Scott provide fresh hope for grieving families still waiting for justice and a “new set of eyes” on old case files that sometimes date back a decade.

Since the unit was officially set up in 2011 they have reviewed 26 unsolved cases between 2003 and 2013.

This work has directly contributed to 19 people being charged with murder or attempted murder.

To date seven have been convicted of murder, three have been cleared of murder, and eight are awaiting trial for murder, attempted murder or firearms offences.

Their current caseload includes ten murders, five attempted murders and 46 shooting incidents.

“The decision to review a case could come months after the crime, or even years,” said Det Sgt Martin.

“Often when you go back to a crime after a period of time has passed people are more prepared to speak to you, because the tension has died down.

“Eighty per cent of our work takes place in the office. When we start to go through a case we go through it methodically and meticulously right from the beginning.

“This involves rereading statements, watching interviews and checking CCTV footage. It can be a very drawn out process and often involves a huge amount of work.

“It's all about putting a fresh set of eyes over the case.”

The team's work has already resulted in significant success, helping to bring the murderers of Stefan Burgess, Randy Robinson and David Clarke to justice.

Mr Burgess was shot at a Glebe Road home in January 2012.

But it was only after the Case Review Unit had gone over the original case file that Julian Washington was charged at Supreme Court with murder in December 2013.

The team uncovered crucial images on Washington's phone that showed what he was wearing on the day of the murder. The clothes were sent away for further forensic testing that revealed traces for gunshot residue.

In May 2014, Washington was convicted of Mr Burgess's murder and jailed for life.

Det Sgt Martin added: “When tensions were high and there was a spate of gun murders police were faced with back-to-back investigations and inevitably things get missed.

“That's not a criticism, it's just the nature of the job given what officers were faced with at the time.

“When we review a case it's often important to revisit the scene and meet with the family of the victim, to let them know that we are looking at the case again.

“It provides some reassurance that we have not forgotten about their case despite the passage of time.

“If we get a result, it's a relief and it hopefully demonstrates to members of the public that we will not give up on a case.

“And it might also give courage to someone else to come forward and provide us with information to help solve another crime.

“But when we lose it's disappointing because of all the work that has gone into getting the case together.”

In March 2011 footballer Randy Robinson was murdered in the Border Lane North, Pembroke area,

Over a year later, in May 2012, after the Case Review Unit had pursued some new lines of inquiry, Jason Dill and a second man were charged jointly with premeditated murder. The pair were convicted of murder in February 2013 and later jailed for life.

Mr Adams told The Royal Gazette: “The worthwhile part is that when we get a positive result sometimes a relative or a parent will express what that means to them.

“We can not bring back a loved one, but we can give their family a certain peace, and a feeling that the effort was made to bring someone to justice.”

The Case Review Unit also played a significant role in the conviction of David Clarke's killers. Mr Clarke was shot dead April 2011 as he rode his bike home from the Mid-Atlantic Boat Club.

A year and a half later, and after the team had been able to produce enhanced footage from the club showing the two suspects leaving as well as a wealth of additional phone records data, Jahkeo LeShore and Darrion Simons were charged with murder. Both men were jailed for life in September 2014.

Superintendent Sean Field-Lament commended the unit's work.

He said: “These guys have over 100 years experience in the job and have done an amazing job.

“This process of reviewing cases that have not been solved has resulted in a lot of breakthroughs.

“Solving outstanding cases goes to the heart of engaging with the community and building confidence in the work we do.

“These guys are an integral part of how we tackle crime. They do not leave a stone unturned.”

To contact the Case Review Unit call 247 1739.

Old files: Chief Inspector Na'imah Astwood (right) with Bermuda's Case Review Unit (from left) of Carlton Adams, Steve Horsley, Dean Martin and David Scott, who have delved back into dozens of the Island's most notorious and shocking murders
Case Review Unit: Carton Adams.(Photo by Akil Simmons)
Case Review Unit: Dave Scott.(Photo by Akil Simmons)
Case Review Unit: Steve Horsley. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Case Review Unit: Na'imah Astwood. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Case Review Unit: Dean Martin. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 02, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated March 02, 2015 at 12:27 am)

Providing fresh hope for justice

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