Attorney Christopher Townsend has chastised the prosecution for its failure to release key documents in the Noel Maitland murder case, which thwarted his firm’s attempts to file a bail application for the incarcerated cop.
“I am extremely disappointed in the way the prosecution plays with the rights of the accused,” Townsend said. Loop News tuesday.
“A long time ago there was a failure to disclose and the Privy Council slapped the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] office on their face. The ruling suggested they had an obligation to disclose or report; this new approach they are taking is on a slippery road in terms of justice,” he argued.
Townsend was referring to the case of Randall vs. R where the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council dealt with the issue of the conduct of prosecutors on April 16, 2002. The Privy Council asserted that: “[T]he right of an accused to a fair trial is absolute… The right to a fair trial is a right enjoyed by both the guilty and the innocent, for an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. contrary in a trial. fair trial.
It was in this context that Townsend expressed surprise at the actions of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the murder case involving Maitland, who appeared in court Monday on charges of murder in connection with the disappearance of his girlfriend, social media influencer Donna-Lee Donaldson.
During the proceedings, several witness statements were not served on the defense due to a reported attempt to pervert the course of justice in at least one case, prosecutors alleged.
“We are quite surprised by this, having served in the DPP office myself…this is something new for me, this kind of illegal strategic move. He has the right to see what is against him, what is not the prosecution’s function to hide evidence from the accused, that is not their function, not as I understand it,” said Townsend, who represents the accused cop.
The police officer has been in custody since his July 27 arrest in connection with Donaldson’s disappearance. Townsend said defense attorneys needed more disclosure to properly advise Maitland.
Townsend said the prosecutors’ behavior was a grim harbinger, heralding “a dark day in the history of our justice system.”
“The prosecution claims that the information is already disclosed in the statements they gave to us – the summary of the facts – [but] often I learned that what is contained in the statement is not what is given in this summary of the facts, and therefore the statements are what is relied on to confirm what the witness said”, Townsend said.
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On Monday, the case was adjourned to allow the Crown to review the documents and make submissions to the defence. During the proceedings, the Crown indicated that it wanted to provide witness protection.
Maitland is charged with the murder of Donaldson, who was last seen at his New Kingston apartment on July 11.
She was reported missing on July 13. Police said inquests concluded Donaldson was killed on July 12 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. They said this was supported by forensic evidence and technology, but noted that a motive has not yet been established for the murder.
Maitland was taken into custody Monday until September 16.