Justis Smith

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June 10th 2004

The official site, dedicated to the memory of Rebecca, can be found by clicking on the picture below.

Smith was charged in 1996 with killing Canadian teen Rebecca Middleton of Belleville, Ont. He was acquitted and freed, however, when Judge Vincent Meerabux dismissed the case saying there was insufficient evidence to continue with the trial.

But Smith was convicted of violence against two other females in another trial, on charges arising from attacks in the Dockyard area Feb. 2, 2002.  Justis Smith will have to serve a few months in jail after all for stabbing a woman and fighting with another two years ago in Bermuda.

The Bermuda Royal Gazette newspaper reported Wednesday that the Court of Appeal has increased Smith's prison sentence to 18 months from the 11 months handed down by a lower court last October. The earlier sentence in effect enabled Smith, 25, to walk free, because he had already spent 11 months in custody after his arrest.

After the Crown appealed the lower court sentence, the Court of Appeal gave Smith 12 months for the stabbing and six months on the fighting charge, the newspaper said. The sentences are to be served consecutively. The time Smith has spent in jail will be knocked off the 18 months, leaving him with about seven months of jail time

story courtesy of: www.ttgapers.com

Crown argues case against Justis Smith should have gone to a jury (Bermuda Sun)
The case against Justis Smith should have gone to the jury because there is circumstantial evidence placing him at the scene of Rebecca Middleton's murder, the three-man Court of Appeal heard yesterday.

This was one of the arguments presented by Acting Attorney General William Pearce on the first day of the Crown's appeal against the acquittal of Justis Smith.

The Crown is seeking to have the court overturn the decision by Puisne Judge Vincent Meerabux, directing the jury last December 15 to bring in a not guilty verdict in the murder of the Canadian tourist.

If Mr. Pearce is successful in his appeal, Smith could go back to court to once again face murder charges in connection with the July 3, 1996 death of the vacationing 17-year-old.

Mr. Pearce said the jury should have been given the opportunity to determine whether Smith was guilty or innocent.

Mr. Pearce also argued Judge Meerabux failed to look at all of the evidence presented during Smith's trial.

"He failed to look at all of the circumstantial evidence that tended to show Smith and Mundy were at the scene... You look at all of the time lines... the opportunity... was sufficient to place Smith with Mundy at the scene," said Mr. Pearce. "Justis Smith placed himself with Mundy that evening at the time the murder occurred," and Mundy was proven to be at the scene through the use of DNA evidence.

"Put those two pieces of evidence together [Smith's admission and Mundy's DNA found at the scene] and the jury can draw the inference."

Mr. Pearce said there are two keys to the Crown's case against Smith circumstantial evidence which places Smith with Kirk Mundy, 23, and Miss Middleton at the scene of the crime and expert testimony, by two different witnesses, which show two people were involved in the commission of the crime.

"At least two people were involved in the stabbing of Miss Middleton and the evidence to show that the body was also carried to the middle of the road is also evidence that can be used to support {the two-person theory}," explained Mr. Pearce.

Mr. Pearce is also arguing that Judge Meerabux mistakenly considered the deal made earlier in the investigation which resulted in Mundy receiving a five-year sentence for pleading guilty to being an accessory to murder after the fact.

Mr. Pearce explained that in Judge Meerabux's ruling there was a primary and secondary party involved in the murder of Miss Middleton. Since Mundy pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact, that leaves Smith as the primary participant. Determining who the primary or secondary party was in this crime, Mr. Pearce said, was an "irrelevant consideration."

"The law is, as long as you can establish who the two people are in concert, you don't have to establish who did the stabbing," explained Mr. Pearce.

"Because Mundy has pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact, then Mundy can't be the primary party... Therefore, we have to show Smith did the stabbing or else we fail," added Mr. Pearce. "It was an error in law to consider that fact."

Mr. Pearce noted any deals Mundy may have made with the Attorney General's office should not have been taken into consideration when determining the evidence put forward against Smith.

"All evidence, even if it is conflicting, should go before the jury," he said.

"Although Mundy was at the scene of the crime, he could not be found guilty of the commission of the crime."

Miss Middleton was found lying in the middle of Ferry Reach Road in the early morning hours of July 3,1996. Miss Middleton was on the island visiting her friend Jasmin Meens. The two teenagers went out that evening and when taxis failed to pick them up the two girls accepted cycle rides from Mundy and Smith as well as Dean Lottimore. Miss Meens was driven home by Mr. Lottimore and arrived home safely.

Mr. Pearce is being assisted by Crown Counsel Peter Eccles while British QC John Perry is representing Justis Smith.

The appeal is expected to last about a week.

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