Missing woman murder trial delayed until next year

(L) Alleged murder victim, Vincia James (file photo) (R) Murder accused, Mikhail Gomes (file photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

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Just weeks after “new developments” were announced in the Vincia James murder case, the accused, Mikhail Gomes, was to stand trial but that was yesterday postponed until February next year.

Lawyer Pete-Semaj McKnight, who was standing in for Lawrence Daniels, urged the court to set an early date for trial since the matter had already been adjourned six times and the allegations have lain over the defendant’s head for more than four years.

Gomes is accused of killing James, his ex-girlfriend who disappeared without a trace in 2017.

The New Winthorpes woman was last seen on surveillance camera leaving her Old Parham Road workplace, Dixie Operations Ltd, shortly after 1pm on April 7 that year.

Since then, there have been several island-wide searches for the mother-of-one, but her body has never been found.

Gomes denies killing her, but prosecutors believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to proceed with a trial.

Last month, it was said that a fisherman found James’ identification cards in a pond in the North Sound area.

The police, though not confirming what was found, told Observer that they are “carefully and professionally examining the new developments with a view to bring this matter to a successful closure”.

Both the prosecution and the defence indicated yesterday that they are ready to start the trial but the matter had to be set for next year for reasons beyond the court’s control.

Gomes will now appear before a jury on February 14 2022.

Last year, Gomes, of Pigotts, received bail in the High Court.

Despite strong opposition from the prosecution, Justice Iain Morley granted him bail in the amount of $200,000 which was secured by a $40,000 cash deposit to the court.

Gomes, alongside two sureties, had to surrender to the court collateral worth that sum.

He was ordered to report each day to the St John’s Police Station and is subject to a 9pm to 5am curfew until the case is concluded.

The judge’s rationale for releasing him pending trial was due, he said, to repeated delays to the defendant’s case, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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