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Ellah Joy Pique case: The end is in sight!

Discussion in 'Important Causes' started by Markham, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    The end to this sorry saga may be in sight.

    At the start of the year, the Prosecution had two further witnesses remaining on its latest rosta. One was a PNP officer who was present at at Bella Ruby's home at the time it was searched and his testimony was likely to have been non-controversial and procedural in nature. I suspect the Prosecution was hoping that he might add weight to its contention that Ellah Joy was abducted for pornographic reasons. He didn't show-up nor did Ellah Joy's classmate and close friend, the younger sister of the Prosecution's very first witness. This child should have given evidence as part of the Bail Hearing but after she and her parents saw the effect of the grilling her elder sister endured and whose lack of credibility as a witness was clearly proven, she (the younger sibling) told prosecutors she didn't want to give evidence and effectively withdrew her testimony. She was, however, persuaded to change her mind - probably by her parents who had their eye on a goodly share of the reward monies - but in the event she didn't show up in Court.

    As no reasons were forthcoming for their absence at the hearing on March 10, the Judge ruled that the trial would continue without them and that no further prosecution witnesses could be called. The prosecutors requested that a USB thumbdrive be examined by the Court and asserted that it contained pictures of young children and thus would demonstrate the defendants' proclivities.

    Only State Prosecutor Abarca showed up for the hearing during which the USB thumbdrive was examined. The Judge said that she had spent the weekend examining the thumbdrive in detail and concluded that it contained nothing pornographic or illegal. She did note, however, that there were quite a number of 2x2 ID photos of school children which was to be expected as the thumbdrive belonged to a photographer who'd recently taken ID photos for a school and had left the device in Bella's home by mistake. The Prosecution undertook to submit its motion for the admission of its exhibits within 15 days.

    That deadline expired on April 9 and the prosecution team failed to a man (and woman) to put in an appearance at the most recent hearing on April 16. Not only was there no prosecutor present but it had also failed to file its exhibits motion and anticipating this, the Defence had prepared a motion of exclusion for those exhibits which it then filed with the Court. The Judge issued an order requiring the Prosecution to file its answer and comments on the Exclusion Order petitioned by the Defence within 5 days.

    The Defence is now preparing a Demurrer which it plans to file shortly. This is likely to call for the dismissal of all charges against Bella Ruby and Ian Griffiths and for a verdict of Not Guilty to be recorded. However there does remain the issue of the Interpol "Red Notice" which the PNP requested in respect of Ian Griffiths. I suspect that will require a set of court proceedings of its own to order its removal.

    There appears to be no reaction thus far from the Cebu Police and CIDG-7 in particular. Will it wish to re-open the investigation and will it be "open season" on foreigners living with Filipino partners on Cebu? Unlikely, I think even though I am very sure her parents, particularly her father, will wish it to be so.
  2. Aromulus
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    Aromulus The Don Staff Member

    Pure and unadulterated incompetence of the highest order.
    I am mistified on how such a carry on has been allowed to go on for so long, and many others ....................
  3. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    This is very good news.
  4. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    From today's edition of the SunStar (Cebu edition):
    Interesting. On Monday of this week, at a hearing for this case during which Prosecutor Abarco rested the Prosecution case, the Defence sought leave of the Court to file its Demurrer to Evidence within 14 days. In fact, the Defence Team - and myself - had been working on this document for the past month and lead counsel Attorney Villagonzalo was able to serve copies of the Demurrer with the Provincial Prosecutor and the Court the following day.

    It is not yet a public document so I'm not sure how the SunStar was able to quote from it but I do have my suspicions. I will post a full copy of the Demurrer as soon as we have the Court's permission to publicise it.

    Bearing in mind that I know exactly what's written in the Demurrer, it really does seem to me that the SunStar is hoping against hope that the Prosecution is able to pull something out of the hat and gain convictions against the couple. This would be a natural fit as its columnists have written some very biased opinion pieces both prior and during the Bail Hearing. Why do I say this? Well the paper has cherry-picked and published a few of the less powerful points from the document. Or it may be preparing its readers for the inevitable but seeks to hide the really damming parts of the Defence's document lest that undermines the populace's confidence in law enforcement and the competence of prosecuting lawyers.

    The paper quotes Attorney Dela Cerna as continuing to claim that the Prosecution's "evidence is strong". Attorney Dela Cerna has not, to my knowledge, attended many of the hearings this year which you may consider a tad strange as he is supposed to be the lead counsel! And Pique's other lawyers - he has four in all - have also been conspicuous by their absence. And if their evidence is as strong as Dela Cerna says, how is it, then, that the Prosecution failed to file its motion for acceptance of its exhibits into evidence?

    The Provincial Prosecutor has a couple of weeks to file his answer and objections to the Demurrer.
  5. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

  6. oss
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    oss Not Here

    Indeed this is very good news.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Here's the photo taken at yesterday's press conference in the lawyers' offices:
    [​IMG]
    The lead attorney, Rameses Villagonzalo, is on the left and attorney Julius Caesar Entise is on the right. Much of the credit rightly belongs to Entise whose surgical cross-examination of prosecution witnesses systematically destroyed the state's case.

    I need to check but there appears to be no orders relating to the British accused, Ian Griffiths. Currently there is an Interpol Red Notice which prevents him travelling outside the UK and the Bureau of Immigration has hold and arrest orders in his name. They will NOT be cancelled by the the PNP and BoI unless they are specifically ordered to do so - which may have been overlooked.

    That said, the case may not in fact be over. The Children's Legal Bureau, whose lawyers represented the Pique family, say they will file a petition of Certiorari -- an appeal that is based on a point of Law. They're claiming that the Judge incorrectly decided an important question of law. Although the CLB will need the State Prosecutor's approval, that may well bve forthcoming as this case as litigated (in court) by private prosecutors.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  8. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    The initiative may lie with Ian Griffiths to seek a declaration that he is no longer a suspect.

    As for Pique, his own movements around the time of his little daughter's death should perhaps be investigated. His pursuit of the case against two people who are clearly innocent raises the question of whether he is seeking to deflect attention away from himself.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. kevin taylor
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    kevin taylor New Member

    Wow sod my last post congrats, now I'm happy but sad for myself.
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  10. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    We're working on it; to use a phrase that comes from Bisayan I think.
  11. MattWilkie
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    MattWilkie Member Trusted Member

    There are reasons Pique won't be investigated. There are a lot more facts that never came to light in this case and will be buried for multiple reasons.
  12. Aromulus
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    Aromulus The Don Staff Member

    A fair and just justice system... how very refreshing...
  13. MattWilkie
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    MattWilkie Member Trusted Member

    Believe the term still being used is "lack of evidence" which isn't correct but very likely how the Philippines justice system will leave it. Because a lack of evidence is an accusation that they still carried out the crime. At the same time its probably as good as you can get out of the Philippines justice system to save them face. Annoying, frustrating yet for them to admit they got the wrong people (Again!) would question what is the motive behind the case?
    • Agree Agree x 1

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