Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bonavia found not guilty

Alameda robbery

A jury in the Supreme Court yesterday found Andrew Bonavia not guilty of robbery, as the three-day trial into an incident in the Alameda Gardens came to a close.

Mr Bonavia, of 51/7 Flat Bastion Road, was acquitted after the jury accepted the defence presented by his lawyer, Selwyn Figueras, that the defendant had been caught up in a case of mistaken identity.

Doris Ilmer, a young German woman, was robbed in the Alameda Gardens last year by a man who grabbed her from behind and forced her to hand over cash and valuables.

Ms Ilmer never saw her assailant’s face but said that the shoes and shorts he was wearing at the time of the robbery were, in her view, the same as those worn by a jogger she had seen about 20 minutes prior to the incident.

She had provided police with a good description of the jogger and had later picked Mr Bonavia from a line up and claimed that he was the man she had seen running past in the gardens.

In presenting the Crown’s case, prosecutor Karina Khubchand had also called police witnesses, including a British forensics expert who told the court that there was strong, though not conclusive, evidence suggesting that shoes worn by Mr Bonavia could have made marks found at the scene of the crime. For Ms Ilmer and the Crown, the jogger and the assailant were the same man, Andrew Bonavia.

But in their verdict yesterday, the jury rejected that assessment.

In his closing address, Mr Figueras questioned the argument that the jogger and the assailant were one and the same, asking the jury to take note of the distinction between the two.

He also drew attention to the way that police had handled aspects of the investigation into the crime, adding that certain failings on their part – for example not securing the crime scene overnight – rendered evidence gathered there unreliable.

Mr Figueras also picked through other elements of the prosecution’s case, arguing that there was nothing to link his client to the crime other than the fact that he had worn clothes similar to those worn by the jogger. Mr Bonavia had told police that he was in Spain at the time of the incident.

In summing up his defence, Mr Figueras expressed sympathy toward the victim of the robbery but suggested that she had identified the wrong man. “There’s no doubt that she had a terrible experience, but she’s got it wrong,” Mr Figueras said.

Related Articles:

25 June 2005 - Shoe print key evidence in robbery case

24 June 2005 - Robbery case comes before Court

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