Defence counsel for Mitchel Israel shocked by guilty verdict
Defence counsel Linton Lewis
Front Page
August 18, 2023

Defence counsel for Mitchel Israel shocked by guilty verdict

Defence counsel representing Mitchel Israel, the man found guilty of murdering his wife in the vicinity of their son’s school, has said that “clear evidence” should have led to his client’s acquittal.

Lawyer Linton Lewis said he is shocked that the 12-member jury returned a guilty verdict against his client and he has voiced his intention to appeal the conviction which was handed down at the High Court on Wednesday, August 16.

Israel was charged with the 2020 murder of his Cuban-born wife, Arianna Taylor Israel, after she was shot in the car park of the St Martin’s Secondary School on January 30.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Lewis pointed to “false testimony” by prosecution witnesses and “rumours”.

He said the findings of Dr Hubert Daisley, a forensic pathologist from Trinidad, were that Taylor’s injuries did not align with the “public” version of events which alleged that the shots were fired by Israel while standing over his wife’s body.

Lewis said, according Dr Daisley, this account would make it “impossible” for Taylor to sustain the injuries she had, and the evidence points to a shooting at close range during a tussle for Israel’s gun.

It was this version that Israel testified to when he took the stand during the trial, claiming that he and Taylor physically fought for the gun and during the tussle, the gun fired three times.

“How could that equate to someone standing up and pulling a trigger three times? That is just rumour.

“I have a serious problem with the jury having heard that evidence and still coming to the conclusion that there should be a guilty verdict when in truth and in fact, the victim went for the gun that the man had around his waist and they were both struggling. That is how she got shot. The thing about him pulling out a gun and shooting, that never happened.”

Lewis also knocked the prosecution’s case, claiming that it was built on the hear-say version circulating in the public that Israel went to the school with the intention to shoot his wife.

“He went around to the school to pick up his child as he does everyday and like the son said, his father carries a gun with him everywhere.”

Lewis also took issue with one of the Prosecution’s witnesses, who he described as “unreliable” as he was not able to recall details that were given during the preliminary inquiry when questioned during the murder trial.

“You can’t believe anything that he says (the witness) because he kept saying he can’t recall, he can’t recall.”

The testimony by Israel’s co-worker, who said that Israel told him on the day that he “give her six shots” and killed her has been rubbished by the defence lawyer, stating that at that time, Israel did not know his wife had died and he would have known that six shots had not been fired from his gun.

Lewis said it was clear that the jury did not accept any of the suggestions made by Justice Rickie Burnett for deliberations on self-defense, provocation or accidental shooting.

“The judge was trying to indicate to them; even indicated three defences. I only raised one, which is accident. He raised two others: self defence and provocation.”

During his closing statement, Lewis had asked members of the jury to consider the case based only on the evidence presented in court and not on what is “heard outside”.

The sentencing date has been set for October 18.