The Court of Appeal on Friday upheld Omar Miller’s convictions for attempted murder, armed robbery and burglary, ruling the prosecution had put forward a “formidable case”.
Prosecutors contended that Miller was among three men who accosted Anthawn Simms outside his home at Ludford Avenue in Freeport, Grand Bahama around 10 p.m. on March 23, 2016.
The intruders, dressed in camouflage clothing, tied up Simms and robbed him and his girlfriend of jewelry and close to $7,000 cash.
Simms, the owner of Bowe’s Electronics, was shot during a struggle with the assailants, who fled the scene in Simms’ Chevrolet Colorado truck.
Police were called and they spotted Simms’ truck near Midshipman Road; Miller ran from the truck and pointed a gun at police, who opened fire. He then ran into bushes but later surrendered to police. The officers took him to hospital for treatment to a gunshot wound to the hand.
Miller wore camouflage clothing. When the officers searched the bushes, they found a firearm and items taken in the robbery.
A ballistics expert said the recovered the gun that was used to shoot Simms.
Simms was murdered on January 9, 2018, six months before Miller’s trial began.
As a result, the trial judge allowed police to read Simms’ witness statement into evidence.
At the appeal, Miller’s lawyer, Murrio Ducille, argued that the judge had improperly allowed the statement.
Simms’ witness statement was admitted before a former employee at the Registrar General’s Department produced his death certificate.
Although the panel agreed that proof of Simms death should have preceded the admission of this statement, they said this did not affect the outcome of the trial.
Additionally, Ducille unsuccessfully argued that Miller did not have a case to answer and that the jury’s finding was unreasonable.
The court ruled that “it would have been an affront to common sense for the judge to have determined that the appellant should not be called upon to make a case”.
The court said, “We harbor no lurking doubt about the correctness of the jury’s verdicts or that any injustice has been done. Thus, we dismiss this appeal and affirm the convictions and sentences.”
Miller is serving concurrent sentences of 25 years for attempted murder, 20 years for armed robbery and 10 years for burglary.