Anthony Armstrong, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), has secured another historic victory in the case involving an ex-British police officer who was convicted of rape here.
After being found guilty by a jury of his peers on May 23, 2019, Lee Martin Cramp was hoping to have his conviction overturned by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. However, the Court has upheld the conviction.
This means that Cramp, who is serving time at the old US Naval Base facility in Coolidge, will have to continue serving his 15-year sentence for the rape of an American student.
In October last year, Cramp’s attorney, Warren Cassell, made legal arguments before the Appeals Court, seeking favour on his six grounds of appeal and an application to adduce fresh evidence.
However, the DPP vigorously defended the matter and opposed the application, which was later withdrawn.
Cassell made arguments that the defence was barred from making a no-case submission; that the judge misdirected the jury on the date-rape drug, Rohypnol; that the judge failed to give the right locus (or crime scene) direction; and that the judge interrupted the defence more than 80 times during its cross examination and, therefore, undermined its case.
Cassell told the Court of Appeal that the judge had also failed to adequately put the defence’s case to the jury, and he asked that the conviction be overturned.
Meanwhile, Armstrong argued that the judge’s summing up and direction to the jury – taken as a whole – might not have been the most elegant; but it was fair, balanced and also correct in law.
His argument to the Appeal Court was that the case was non-technical, and therefore the jury would have understood the issue. The DPP argued that the singular issue at the trial was one of consent, which the jury was capable of understanding.
Based on the Court’s ruling, it has agreed with the arguments made by the DPP.
Cramp was extradited to Antigua & Barbuda to stand trial for the offence which was committed in 2018, while he was vacationing here. He reportedly met the victim at a family wedding and flew back to his native England after the incident.
The DPP was instrumental in securing his extradition, the first of its kind in this part of the region, and is credited with Cramp’s subsequent conviction.