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Murder accused says constitutional rights violated

A murder accused has alleged that prosecutors violated his constitutional rights by failing to try him within a reasonable time.

Basil Gordon was convicted of the June 16, 2002 murders of Rosynell Newbold and her grandson, Kevin Wilson, during a break-in at their home.

However, the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial on December 12, 2005.  Yet, prosecutors did not schedule a new trial date until June 24, 2011.

Gordon argued a constitutional motion before Senior Justice Jon Isaacs yesterday.  He is asking the court to stay the proceedings against him.

Gordon told the court that prison authorities treated him as a condemned inmate until February 2008, although the appellate court’s decision had changed his status to that of an untried prisoner. Gordon said he suffered inhumane and degrading treatment as a result.

According to Gordon, he has suffered from anxiety because his case has not been tried.  Gordon has been in custody since his arraignment for the offenses on June 19, 2002.

Prosecutor Jillian Williams acknowledged “a lengthy lapse of time” in setting the retrial, but she said there was no evidence that Gordon would suffer any prejudice because of the delay.

She said the Crown’s case was based on circumstantial scientific evidence, which would remain unchanged.  She said there was nothing to suggest he could not get a fair hearing and added it was in the public interest that Gordon be tried for the alleged crimes.

Williams suggested that the court reduce Gordon’s bail so that he would not remain in prison until his trial, which is scheduled for next year.

Gordon said his bail was signed this week, but authorities had not taken him to the monitoring center so he could be tagged with an ankle bracelet.

Isaacs asked WIlliams to ensure that Gordon was released.

The court will give its ruling on the constitutional motion at a later date.

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