Court of Appeal briefs

Courier robbery appeal  

In the latest session of the Court of Appeal, Brandon Liberal and Manuel Carter lost their appeals against sentences of seven years for the robbery of a courier outside BritCay House in October 2012. 

The men admitted that they stole CI$8,117 and US$593 by putting the courier in fear of being subjected to force and having an unlicensed firearm at the time. 

Liberal asked the court to consider “exceptional circumstances” in that he had assisted police with the recovery of another firearm – a.22 revolver that was not connected to this incident. Justice Charles Quin had decided that since police did not charge Liberal with another firearm possession, he had already been given credit. 

Carter argued that a 10 percent discount for a guilty plea was too little, but the court noted that the plea was entered “exceptionally late” – after the defendants had already asked for an indication of what the sentence would be if they pleaded guilty. 

Carter said his participation in the robbery was due to his addiction to crack cocaine; he asked to be sent to Caribbean Haven toward the end of his sentence. The court commended him for his expression of remorse, but found it impossible to say that Justice Quin was in any way in error when he imposed the sentences. 

Rape conviction appeal dismissed  

The Court of Appeal dismissed Phillip Rose’s appeal against his convictions for the rape of a woman with whom he had previously been in a relationship. 

The court said reasons would be handed down later. 

Magnum robbery sentence  

The court also dismissed the appeal of Simon Julio Newball, who received a sentence of eight years after being found guilty of stealing jewelry valued at US$308,194 from Magnum Jewellers in December 2011. 

GBH sentence appeal  

Kenroy Rowe lost his appeal against a sentence of six years for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. A security guard, he had stabbed a customer at the bar where he was manning the entrance. The court said six years was not manifestly excessive and Rowe was lucky not to have faced a charge of attempted murder. 

Threatening sentence reduced in wounding case 

Duane Bodden was given a reduction in sentence on the principle of totality. He pleaded guilty to wounding a civilian, for which he received three years, and threatening to kill a police officer, for which he received a 16 month sentence, to be served consecutively. 

The court said the wounded man was an innocent victim, who had been approached by Bodden and asked for cigarettes or money. Bodden had a knife and held it against his victim’s neck. Officers arrived and had to disarm a drunken violent man, the court noted. 

Bodden’s behavior did justify a substantial sentence because police officers are entitled to go about their difficult responsibilities without having to deal with such threats, the court said. But, given that the total sentence was four years and four months, and that the threat to kill the officer was continuing behavior after the wounding, the court reduced the 16 months to nine months. The total sentence was therefore three years, nine months. 

Firearm sentence upheld  

Steve Marcus Manderson lost his appeal against conviction for possession of an unlicensed firearm and the resulting sentence of 10 years. 

Store robbery appeal dismissed  

Courtney Bryan was unsuccessful in his appeal against a sentence of four years after his guilty plea to the robbery of Chisholm’s Supermarket in North Side and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offense. Three other participants, including the driver of the getaway car and another man who did not get out of the car, received lesser sentences. 

The court said there could be no possible objection to a four-year sentence for robbery of a small commercial premises where businesspeople are vulnerable targets. 

In its decision, announced by Justice Moses, the court pointed to irreconcilable differences in the basis of the pleas each defendant had entered. The different sentences imposed were an example of what could happen when defendants are not sentenced at the time, he noted. The other sentences did not undermine Bryan’s sentence. 

The court saluted the bravery of the store owner, who took down the vehicle license number, and her granddaughter who phoned 911 with a description of the car that enabled officers to intercept it.