5 years after men locked up without bail in ‘villa murder’ case to go to Supreme Court

The case of four men, charged for the 2012 ‘villa murder’ in Runaway Bay, St Ann has been sent to the Supreme Court for trial in July. This development in the case occurred on Tuesday June 6, when the men appeared before high court judge Glen Brown in the St Ann Circuit Court.

Mark Brown, Eric Ramjeet, Lorenzo McDonald and Kevin Bailey, all of Runaway Bay, St. Ann, are charged for the murder of 35-year-old Gavin Campbell.

Campbell was a Jamaican who lived in the US and had returned with several other family members for a reunion at a villa when he was murdered.

Three of the four accused men have been in custody since their arrest in 2012. Ramjeet however was out on bail until Monday, February 6, when the matter was called up before the St Ann Circuit Court. At that time he was remanded in custody as he was without legal representation and according to the then presiding judge Justice Georgiana Fraser was “hindering the progress of the matter.”

He was however, released on bail after settling his representation with attorney, Oswest Senior-Smith.

Campbell was killed on July 5, 2012 after the accused men reportedly invaded the villa where he and other relatives from overseas were staying. Reports are that a party was being held at the premises when the men went in masked and armed. Two of the accused men had guns while one had a sword.

It was said in Court on Tuesday that Campbell and his family members challenged the men. Mark Brown’s finger was bitten off in an encounter with one of the relatives who was acting in self defence.

It was also said that McDonald was the person who fired the fatal shot on that night. Reports are that Campbell was chasing the accused men while they were leaving the scene and that was when McDonald pulled the trigger.

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Bailey who is said to have been the person who distributed the weapons, turned himself in to the police after the incident. On the other hand, Ramjeet was said to have sustained chop wounds. The crown says they are relying on DNA evidence and also the statement of an eyewitness.

Justice Glen Brown questioned the reason Ramjeet was out on bail while the other men were remanded. Oswest Senior-Smith who is the attorney representing Ramjeet told the court that a bail application was made for him and it was granted.

Attorney, Robert Brown, who is representing the accused Bailey then told the court that Bailey had gone to the Villa with the intention of attending a party as he was told. He then went on to say that Bailey was celebrating his 27th birthday on Tuesday (the day the matter was in court) and that he (Bailey) has expressed his displeasure with length of time the court was taking to proceed with the matter. “The scales ought to be balanced,” Mr Robert Brown said.

Another attorney, Linton Gordon spoke on behalf of the accused man, Mark Brown on Tuesday. He said Mark Brown was 23 when he was brought into custody and that he has not denied being present at the villa on the night of the murder. He also said Brown went to the party with the expectation of “meeting ladies”.

According to Mr Gordon, Mark Brown gave an account for the night of the incident. Mr Gordon said Mark Brown says he had gone to the party and that there was a fight and he was hit. It was further stated that after regaining consciousness he found he was injured and also that he was “being charged for shooting and murder, which he knows nothing about.”

Mr Gordon then expressed the need for progress in the case. He said the men are being denied the right of a “fair trial’ and that no evidence has been presented to the court to show that the accused men were the cause of the delay in the trial. Mr Gordon then suggested to the court that “the scales should be balanced in favour of granting them (the accused men who are remanded) bail”.

In response to all that was said Justice Glen Brown then told the court that “based on what I heard” certain measures had to be put in place.

He concluded that it was “impossible to have enough jurors” to try the case in the St Ann Circuit Court at that time. Another trial had already begun and it was the final week of the sitting of this term of the St Ann Circuit Court.

Justice Glen Brown then decided that the matter will be tried in the Supreme Court on July 14, given that “this is a very serious offence and… the stronger the allegation the less likely bail is.”

Legal representation is to be settled for Mark Brown by that date since he is without an attorney, as Mr Gordon requested that his name be removed from the matter.

Ramjeet had his bail extended until then, while the other accused men were further remanded into custody.