Today, the Court of Appeal dismissed Leroy Gomez’s rape and robbery conviction appeal after a panel of Justices heard arguments from his lawyer, Hubert Elrington, on Tuesday, June 11.
Gomez was sentenced to 15 years concurrently for each offense on August 8, 2012, after a jury found him guilty of the crimes on July 31, 2012. The victim of the rape and robbery appeared in court and gave her testimony. She said that she was walking on Administration Drive heading toward her boyfriend’s house when she noticed someone riding toward her on a bike. Her attention was drawn to the person because he looked like a friend of hers who had passed away.
She testified that she kept on walking and when she looked back, she noticed that the same person was still riding toward her in the direction she was going, but this time, he was wearing a handkerchief tied around his nose and mouth, allowing only his eyes to be visible.
She went on that the person then rode up beside her and put something, which she thought to be a gun, to her side and told her to get onto his bicycle bar. She was ridden to an abandoned house, where she was raped and robbed of her cell phone and designer earrings.
According to Elrington, the judge erred in law when he directed the jury that the person whom the victim had mistaken for her friend and the person she saw riding behind her with the handkerchief over his mouth and nose, and the person who raped and robbed her, were the same person, when no evidence had been adduced at the trial, whether by the prosecution or the defense, to support such a conclusion.
Another argument he made was that the trial judge erred in law when he permitted the witness to identify Gomez from the dock, after more than 11 months had passed since the date of the alleged incident.
Elrington concluded that based on the arguments put forth, the judge should have withdrawn the case from the jury.
In her response, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal, argued that only when the quality of identity is poor, should the judge remove the case from the jury. She told the court that the victim looked at Gomez’s face for some time, as she believed he looked like her friend who had died a year or so earlier.
After pondering the arguments for a few days, they returned their decision that the appeal would be dismissed and the reason would be delivered at a later date.