LONDON – Well tomorrow the Privy Council in London is set to decide on the matters of Stephen Die Stubbs and others who were found guilty in the murder of a police officer back in 1999.
Here are the issues for the Lords and Lady to decide on:
1) Whether Isaacs JA, who had presided over an earlier, aborted trial, should have disqualified himself from sitting on the appeal;
2) Whether the appellants’ convictions are rendered unsafe by (i) the admission of various pieces of hearsay evidence; (ii) dock identifications; (iii) inadequate directions in relation to identification evidence; (iv) the prosecution’s failure to call witnesses of primary fact whose evidence tended to exculpate one of the appellants; (v) the admission of expert evidence by way of a report rather than live evidence; and (vi) the trial judge’s failure adequately to sum up and differentiate the case of one of the appellants from that of his co-defendants; and
3) Whether the sentences of life imprisonment imposed on the appellants (i) were imposed on a wrong basis given that there was no evidence the appellants knew the deceased was a police officer; (ii) failed to take into account constitutional breaches as mitigation; and (iii) are unconstitutional because they are not de jure and de facto reducible.
And here are the facts in the background of the case:
On 25 July 2013, the appellants were convicted of murder and attempted murder. Evans was convicted of two further counts of possession of a firearm with intent to put another in fear.
The offences date back to 29 March 1999. The deceased, a police officer [Constable Jimmy Ambrose and attempting to kill Constable Marcian Scott] in plain clothes, was shot and killed outside a nightclub after a fight between two rival groups of men broke out.
Evans is said to have pointed his weapon at two other police officers as they chased him from the scene. The appellants were sentenced to life imprisonment, on the basis that ss. 290 and 291 of the Penal Code (Amendment) Act (No. 34 of 2011) requires either a sentence of death or life imprisonment to be passed where a police officer acting in the execution of his duties has been murdered.
The appellants’ trial was the third trial of the matter. They were first convicted in May 2002, but their convictions were overturned on appeal. The second trial, before Isaacs J, was aborted on the first day of the summing up.
Following the verdicts in the third trial, the appellants appealed unsuccessfully against their convictions and (with the exception of Stubbs) sentence. Prior to the hearing, Isaacs JA was asked to recuse himself on the basis that he had presided over the second, aborted trial. The Court of Appeal refused the defence application for recusal.
We shall wait the hearing of the Court tomorrow.
We report yinner decide!