The Director of Public Prosecutions v Franklyn Edgecombe aka “Chili”

CourtSupreme Court (Bahamas)
JudgeWilliams J
Judgment Date07 July 2023
Docket NumberCRI/VBI/24/1/2019
The Director of Public Prosecutions
Franklyn Edgecombe aka “Chili”

The Honourable Mr. Justice Franklyn K M Williams KC




Criminal Division

Murder — Identification evidence — No case to answer submission — Turnbull — Galbraith — Whether case should be withdrawn from jury

The defendant was identified as the person who shot and killed Rico Archer on the evening of 11 December 2018 by Valentino Williams, who, at the time of trial was deceased.

The defendant submits that the evidence of the prosecution is so tenuous that it should not be left to the jury relying on limb 2(a) of Galbraith

The defendant further submits that the identification evidence is of poor quality relying on Turnbull

Held, the prosecution having established a prima facie case against the defendant, he is called upon to answer the charge.

R v Galbraith [1981] 1 WLR 1039

R v Turnbull [1977] QB 224

Giovanni Ivan Clarke SCCrApp & CAIS No. 156 of 2017 applied

Garvin Adderley v R SCCrApp. No. 250 of 2017 distinguished

Charlvin Laramore v AG SCCrApp. No. 200 of 2018 distinguished


Timothy Bailey with him Tamika Roberts for the Director of Public Prosecutions

Ms. Marianne Cadet for Edgecombe

Williams J

1. I remind myself of the guidelines to be observed where identification is in issue in R v Turnbull [1977] QB 224

  • “3. First, whenever the case against the accused depends wholely or substantially on the correctness of one or more identifications of the accused which the defence alleges to be mistaken, the judge should warn the jury of the special need for caution before convicting the accused in reliance on the correctness of the identification or identifications. In addition he should instruct them as to the reason for the need for such a warning and should make some reference to the possibility that a mistaken witness can be a convincing one…

  • 4. Secondly, the judge should direct the jury to examine closely the circumstances in which identification by each witness came to be made. How long did the witness have the accused under observation? At what distance? In what light? Was the observation impeded in any way, as for example, by passing traffic or a press of people? Had the witness seen the accused before? How often? If only occasionally, had he any special reason for remembering the accused? How long elapsed between the original observation and the subsequent identification to the police? Was there any material discrepancy between the description of the accused given to the police by the witness when first seen by them and his actual appearance. …Finally, he should remind the jury of any specific weaknesses which had appeared in the identification evidence.

  • 5. Recognition may be more reliable than identification of a stranger; but even when the witness is purporting to recognize someone whom he knows, the jury should be reminded that mistakes in recognition of close relatives and friends are sometimes made

  • 6. All these matters go to the quality of the identification evidence. …; but the poorer the quality, the greater the danger.

  • 7. In our judgement when the quality is good as for example when the identification is made after a long period of observation, or in satisfactory conditions by a relative, a neighbor, a close friend, a workmate and the like, the jury can safely be left to assess the value of the identifying evidence even though there is no other evidence to support it: provided always, however, that an adequate warning has been given about the special need for caution.”

Submission of No Case

2. Ms. Cadet relies on Turnbull and submits that the statement of Valentino Williams yields identification of such poor quality that the case should be withdrawn from the jury; that there is no other evidence to support the identification; that it was night and it was dark; that there is no indication of distance from which, and length of time, the observation was made. Finally, Ms. Cadet submits that the evidence of Inspector Mckinney, Sergeant Miller and Sergeant Valcin and the reference to the crime scene photos prove that the witness Williams could not have seen what he said he saw.

3. Neither the photographic evidence nor the referral of the officers to them either buttresses or impugns the Williams evidence. When asked several questions by Ms. Cadet on estimation of distance. Inspector Mckinney responded “I could only assume, ma'am.”. Similarly, Sergeant Miller, when asked answered “As I indicated I visited the scene, but as to speak to where the witness was and to what area he was pointing to, I can't speak to that.”

4. Valentino Williams states:

“On Tuesday 11 December, 2018 sometime after 7:30 pm, I was in the area of North Street, Fort Fincastle. I was headed to Carline hamburger shop on prison lane to purchase a chicken burger. While walking pass the Haitian food store on the eastern part of North Street, I noticed a male wearing dark clothing and a Rasta colored tam walked out of the corner next to the Haitian shop. This male walked onto North Street and he was walking fast holding a dark colored handgun in his hand. As the male walked under one of the lamp – pole lights, I was able to see his face clear and I recognized this male immediately. It was an old male with a gray dingy beard I know as “Chilly” from Mason Addition. “Chilly” grew up in Mason addition, and I know him from hanging through McCollough corner. as “Chilly” walked east on North Street, I suddenly heard a loud bang noise. It sounded like a gunshot and I saw that “Chilly” was running behind another person who had on a gray coloured jacket. I could hear the sounds of more gunshots as Chilly was running and I could see smoke rising over his body. The male in the hoody jacket dropped down to the ground through the little alley road...

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