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UPDATE: Edwards & Simmonds Jr found guilty of conspiring to commit murder

-Jury gives unanimous decision
Yan Edwards (left) and Rodney Simmonds Jr have been found guilty of conspiring to murder Cornel Melbourne Francis in March 2011. Photo: VINO
The two accused had declined to testify on October 24, 2013. Photo: VINO/File
The two accused had declined to testify on October 24, 2013. Photo: VINO/File
Justice Vicki Ann Ellis was not pleased that a verbal exchange between Dr J.S Archibald and Valston Graham in the High Court was reported by an online media house. Photo; VINO/File
Justice Vicki Ann Ellis was not pleased that a verbal exchange between Dr J.S Archibald and Valston Graham in the High Court was reported by an online media house. Photo; VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – (Post Time: 16:05 P.M.) Moments ago, October 28, 2013 a High Court jury returned a guilty verdict in the case involving Yan Edwards and Rodney Simmonds Jr who were accused of conspiring to murder Cornel Melbourne Francis in March 2011.

Both of the accused had declined to testify on October 24, 2013.

The jury's decision today was unanimous.

Details to follow shortly.

See previous article posted October 25, 2013

Edwards & Simmonds Jr decline to testify

Irene F. O’Neal testifies that Simmonds Jr was at her home when calls came about a shooting

One of the men accused of conspiring to murder Cornel Melbourne Francis on March 13, 2011, Rodney Simmonds Jr, opted to call one witness in his defense yesterday October 24, 2013. The woman was Mrs Irene F. O’Neal, the mother of his girlfriend.

Both Simmonds Jr and Yan Edwards declined to testify on their own behalf and Edwards said he did not wish to call anyone to testify in his defense.

Mrs O’Neal was the last witness in the trial and had told the court that she couldn’t recall the full details of her activities of March 13, 2011 as it was during the national election period at which time she was very busy.

She, however, recalled that when she arrived at her home on the night in question Rodney Simmonds Jr was at her home in the company of her daughter Zubida O’Neal. She averaged the time to have been between 10:30–10:45 P.M. “Zubida and Lil Rod were in the kitchen as if they were getting something to eat,” she told the court.

She said that after she had gone to her bedroom, she emerged shortly after and went to her daughter’s bedroom as she wanted to say something to her but she was not there at the time and she went back into her bedroom. “She was still in the kitchen.”

Mrs O’Neal said that approximately twenty minutes had elapsed since she had reach home when her husband received a phone call that notified them of a shooting incident. “Thank God all of you are at home,” she said was her response to the news, referring to her family who was in the house, including Lil Rod.

She said she didn’t see Simmonds Jr again until the following morning dressed in a manner as if he was leaving. Asked if she knew where the accused slept that night, she responded “I could say in my house,” and not that was nothing unusual.

Under cross examination by Senior Crown Council Mr Valston Graham, Mrs O’Neal told the court that since she was out all day on Sunday March 13, 2011 it was highly possible that she could have returned home earlier than the time she told the court in her initial testimony.

She also established that Simmonds Jr was not at her home when she had left earlier in the day and she couldn’t give an account of his whereabouts for the time between her leaving her home and returning.

Responding to questions from the jurors, Mrs O’Neal told the court that she did not call home at any point during that day to check on things and she did not keep any track of Lil Rod that day. She, however, said she recalled the period of the night she testified about because of the shooting that took place.

Prior to Mr O’Neal taking to the witness box, Graham had objected to her being called to give testimony as he claimed the defense was in breach of the principals surrounding witnesses. This had let to an angry exchange between Dr J.S. Archibald QC and Graham, which was sternly quelled by High Court Judge Vicki Ann Ellis, who reminded the duo of their obligation of maintaining a high level of esteem in the public.

Justice Ellis also cautioned about the details of the verbal exchange between the two lawmen being published in the media but said her caution was a bit too late as it was already on one of the news sites. The incident occurred in the public domain as there were several persons in the court room, including the jurors and the accused.

This went down with much distaste to Justice Ellis who spoke of the civic responsibility of the media and said she noted that such incidents never make the newspapers but only in online news media.

Nevertheless, Mr Archibald QC, who is representing Simmonds Jr in the trial, corrected the procedures and the witness was thereafter allowed to testify in the trial.

Today October 25, 2013 the Crown and defense are expected to present their closing arguments which will pave the way for Ellis to do her summary. This will be followed by the juror deliberations and decision. It is highly likely that a decision will be reached in the new week.

28 Responses to “UPDATE: Edwards & Simmonds Jr found guilty of conspiring to commit murder”

  • hard times (28/10/2013, 16:34) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply

    Great job RVIPF. Keep these thugs off the streets.

  • Man oh Man (28/10/2013, 16:42) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Boy Edwards them chickens you arguing bout you did not get your mark or your target coming home to roost.
  • Facetime (28/10/2013, 16:48) Like (14) Dislike (6) Reply
    Check dem face man lmao!!
  • ishotthesheriff (28/10/2013, 16:49) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    Wa happen to their smiles they usually carry
  • well done (28/10/2013, 16:50) Like (29) Dislike (3) Reply
    Ship them off to UK now to serve the time. Set an example BVI.
  • eh (28/10/2013, 16:57) Like (14) Dislike (3) Reply
    Can we blog now???
  • big D (28/10/2013, 17:11) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Justice served, maybe this would give these young men sometime to reflect on a young life that was taken away.
    • wise up (29/10/2013, 03:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      those 2 guys going to join the rest of them friends-what justice !!!!! doing jail time in bvi is fun;look at how many of our young people in the jail house(it must be fun)....when you visit business places in road town most person need work permits while "our" people up the jail house...what a shame
  • Pure Evil (28/10/2013, 17:24) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look at the evil F dem. I could care less about Rod but Yan... take that in your backside!!! Trouble ppl done shake dem bottle on your head!!!
    • Well Sah (28/10/2013, 20:48) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Don't forget Kerry ppl dem to. Yan had so much bottles shaking on he head that aint no way he coulda get away from this. No wonder he acting so crazy.
  • dogg (28/10/2013, 18:11) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    wonderful job by the jurors, the justice dept. and especially the RVI Police Dept. make a statement about deterrence with these thugs-wana-be.
    Kudos all around.
  • foot (28/10/2013, 18:43) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is this my Welcome to HMP BVI Party? Bring it on!!!
  • SMH (28/10/2013, 18:55) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look the devil in Lil Rod's face. Could only put on a show for so long.
  • Hmm (28/10/2013, 18:57) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    look pun simmonds face; and those eyes. According to Willy Pilly - Geez um bread.

  • foxy (28/10/2013, 19:51) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    thank god they are not back on the streets
  • color me bad (28/10/2013, 20:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Them showing them true colors.
  • BREAKING NEWS (28/10/2013, 21:03) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Word just coming with today's guilty verdict of the two men charged conspiring to kill Melbourne Francis. It is now being considered if the men should serve their expected sentences in the BVI or UK or another british overseas territory prison. The convicted men Yan Edwards and Rodney Simmonds Jr. hurled threats at jurors, police and family of the victim as they were escorted to be transported to the prison. They could be sent to places in the UK, Gibraltar or St. Helena's Prisons to serve their sentence. The men is expected to return to court on 15/11/13 for sentencing. Now today's outburst if a report is made to the judge she can it into account their behavior as they left the court and their sentence can be increased. These guys have seen the hand writing on the wall, any of their friends who act on their behalf to attack the community will soon join them in prison as well.
  • 1 (28/10/2013, 21:39) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    i feel for who ever set them up for this big fall
  • THAT SHOULD HOLD THEM! (28/10/2013, 21:43) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lol, the look on their faces...PRICELESS!
  • The Analyst (28/10/2013, 22:54) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Edwards look like he does suck his tongue when he sleeps. Junior now showing his true character. You made threats against the public, threats of killing and you mentioned you have people on the outside. hmm so that means you guys kill francis by ordering his death and Beef Stoutt and Glenroy Industrious. Prosecution and Police need to move quick and see if that AK was used in the Josiahs Bay murders.
  • Dem Man (29/10/2013, 11:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dem man think they can't die ? How dem is the badest ? Hold on ..... Jah coming to talk to you guys very soon. We all Die some time...
  • Hmmmmm (30/10/2013, 21:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    These people don't have no shame, they disgraced their families and they still acting like they are in control of their wicked destiny. They will soon know who is God if they keep that up

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