A marine accused of a shocking shooting at Government House that claimed the life of Petty Officer Percival Perpall was granted bail on Thursday.
Jevon Seymour was granted $30,000 bail with two sureties ahead of his trial for the April 28 murder of Perpall, his superior officer, and the attempted murders of Calvin Hanna and Ellis Rahming after the Court of Appeal found that a judge’s decision to refuse him bail on July 11 was “unreasonable”.
Seymour is required to surrender his travel documents to the court, wear an ankle bracelet, have no contact with prosecution witnesses and report to the Airport Police Station three times weekly before 6 p.m. as a condition of bail.
In refusing bail, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hilton cited the strength of the proposed evidence, the high murder rate, the prevalence of vigilantism, the need for public safety and public order and the fear that Seymour would abscond.
However, the panel of justices of appeal Jon Isaacs, Stella Crane-Scott and Sir Michael Barnett said “such factors could not be held against the accused man in the absence of evidence from the Crown which would make such factors relevant to the particular applicant”.
The court found that the prosecution had failed to provide evidence at the bail hearing that Seymour was really a flight risk and would interfere with prosecution witnesses if freed on bail.
The ruling said, “Although the judge may have been justified in concluding as he did that the appellant might abscond, in the absence of evidence or the ‘substantial grounds’ provided by the Crown which could ground a reasonable belief that the appellant was a threat to public safety or public order; or would interfere with witnesses, the judge’s reasons for refusing bail were unreasonable and flawed.
“The judge chose to base his decision to refuse bail on his conclusion that the appellant might abscond from an inference he drew based upon his ‘findings’ that the offenses were serious, the penalties severe and the evidence ‘cogent’. As we have already demonstrated, those were not the only relevant factors he was required to take into account in the exercise of his discretion.”
The court said despite Seymour’s good character, his strong family and community ties and his long and unblemished record of service with the defence force, the judge “erroneously connected” the high murder rate and the possibility of retaliation “with the fact that the offenses occurred at the residence of the head of state so as to justify his denial of bail to the appellant on the basis that the need for public safety and public order were “paramount”.
Murrio Ducille appeared for Seymour and Algernon Allen Jr. appeared for the DPP.