NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A man jailed for 15 years for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger two others had his appeal dismissed yesterday by the Court of Appeal.
Rauel Pierre was charged with the April 29, 2014, attempted murders of Rashad Farrington and Kimberley Goodman in addition to two counts of possession with the intent to endanger the lives of the same.
He was found not guilty of attempted murder of Farrington, but was found guilty of the three other charges and was sentenced to 15 years at The Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
According to court documents, Farrington and Goodman were sitting on the front porch of a Milton Street home when a man armed with a firearm began walking toward them with a firearm pointed in the direction and began shooting.
The pair ran into the house unharmed.
According to Goodman, she recognized the shooter as a young man she called ‘Raccoon’, whom she had seen earlier that day and had a brief conversation with on her way to Super Value.
In her affidavit, she said the man was wearing a black hooded sweater.
When Pierre was reportedly arrested by a mobile patrol unit, a black hooded sweater was found in the yard.
He claimed he was visiting his girlfriend at the home, but officers could not locate the woman of whom he spoke of.
Pierre’s attorney Roberto Reckley argued that the judge erred by allowing the case to go to jury with the weakness of the identification evidence, and that the identification of Pierre was made in “difficult circumstances, specifically that no evidence was led as to how long Goodman had the shooter under observation”.
Counsel for Pierre also contended that on at least three occasions, hearsay evidence was given by witnesses and these issues were never clarified by the presiding judge – Justice Carolita Bethel.
The case was also made that the verdict of the jury — convicting Pierre for attempted murder of Goodman, but not of Farrington — was inconsistent and unreasonable.
The panel of justices of appeal Sir Hartman Longley, Sir Michael Barnett and Justice Evans dismissed Pierre’s appeal and upheld the sentence.
Evans said, “It is clear that the only evidence connecting the appellant to the offences for which he was convicted was the identification evidence of Goodman. If then Mr. Reckley was right that the identification was made in difficult circumstances and was merely a fleeting glance then it would have been incumbent on the trial judge to withdraw the case from the jury.
“However, after reviewing the evidence in this matter I am unable to accept Mr. Reckley’s submissions on this ground.
“Firstly, it is clear that although no timeframe was provided as to how long Goodman had the shooter under observation, the evidence does not support the view that it was a fleeting glance.
He continued, “The evidence of Goodman was that the light was good and that the distance allowed her to have a good look at the shooter. Further, she testified that the hoody did not cover his face and she was able to see this face, but more particularly his eyes, which stood out to her. She described him as having ‘funny looking eyes… one is straight and one look like it’s pointed in the other direction’.
According to Goodman, she could never forget those eyes.”