By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A DEATH sentence, life imprisonment, and a 15-year prison term were the punishments Justice Bernard Turner was asked by counsel to consider yesterday in the sentencing of Kofhe Goodman for the murder of Marco Archer.
However, Justice Turner said he would require time to consider the submissions, case authorities and other material produced and will inform the legal parties on October 28 if he required more time or would pass sentence on Goodman on that date.
Goodman, who turned 39 yesterday and is on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison, stood trial between April 17 and August 2 in connection with the murder of Marco Archer. He was found guilty despite pleading not guilty to the murder charge he faced.
Between September 23 and September 28, 2011, Goodman killed 11-year-old Marco Archer, of Brougham Street.
Goodman’s sentencing was adjourned on two occasions with both being dubbed “a political show trial” and “disgraceful state of affairs” by Goodman’s attorney, Geoffrey Farquharson concerning the delay in readiness of probation and psychiatric reports.
What the law says
Yesterday, Garvin Gaskin, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions called on Camita Mackey, a probation officer from Department of Rehabilitative Services, who verified that she was the officer who conducted the probation report concerning the convict.
Mr Farquharson, however, submitted that the report was no use to the court because the date of birth listed on the report was not the same for his client, meaning that they were not the same person.
Mackey said that the entry was a typographical error but pointed to Goodman in the prisoner’s dock as the man she prepared a probation report for.
“We have descended to depths of dock identification from a probation officer?” Farquharson asked the judge, who responded that he should continue his questioning if he had any.
Mr Farquharson asked why his client’s probation report contained statements from the family of Marco Archer who were seeking his client’s death.
Mackey responded that prior to her tenure at the department, including a victim impact in a probation report was an ongoing practice that still continues.
However, when asked if there was anything in legislation that authorised such, she said no.
Mr Farquharson said the actions of the officer was “blatant evidence of corruption” and “nonsense” and requested that her superior be questioned on why the family was contacted to be a part of the report.
Mr Gaskin said that the “only nonsense is coming from him”, adding that it was for the judge to determine if there was any value to the victim impact statement when determining a sentence.
He further submitted that the Criminal Procedure Code allowed for the court to receive a victim impact statement from a relative or guardian when considering sentence, if in this case, the victim is dead.
Mr Gaskin was allowed to make submissions regarding sentencing and why the Crown was seeking the death penalty under the court’s discretion.
The prosecutor said that while a murder convict, according to common law, could only be sentenced to death for “worst of the worst” cases, he submitted that statutes prevail over common law.
The judge asked the prosecutor how would the court be able to determine the issue of a reasonable man being able to reach a conclusion that the death penalty is warranted in this case.
“The mirror of the law reflects the will of the people” Mr Gaskin said.
‘Buggery’ & ‘attempted murder’
Mr Gaskin said the Crown’s case was that Marco Archer was abducted, kidnapped, and eventually murdered all for the “sadistic sexual gratification” of the convict.
He said Goodman left Archer “in the bush rotting like an animal until police discovered his naked dead body.”
“He (Marco) deserved to live. He deserved to make a positive difference, to realise his potential” Gaskin said, adding that he deserved to go to the store, buy his candy and return home.
“Is Marco’s life of any lesser value than a convict? “No,” the prosecutor said.
Mr Gaskin said that in 1993, Goodman was convicted of ‘unnatural carnal knowledge’, committed on October 22, 1989 with the victim Norris Adderley. Goodman, who was initially charged with murder, confessed to the sexual charge but said someone else killed the boy and he was sentenced to three years imprisonment on the charge.
The boy was in his yard playing with two friends around 6pm on the day he was killed. When his mother looked for him outside two hours later, she noticed that he was not at home.
She went about searching for him, asking neighbours, relatives, and even went to the hospital until she received information from a student he attended school with.
That information led her to an unfinished apartment building where in the front section, she saw poinciana leaves covering a shirt her son wore. His pants were pulled down below his knees, legs open, mouth open and bloody, and had bruises about his face and body.
The defence attorney objected, saying no murder was proven against Goodman and it should not be allowed.
The prosecutor said a 10-year-old student also testified in that matter that he was on his way home from school when a man approached him and asked him if he wanted a ride on his bike.
The boy accepted the ride and the two drove to a store on East Street where the biker bought “some lard”, travelled to Garden Hills and took a shortcut through a track road where he turned around and slapped the minor in the face, “put lard on his ‘doggie’ and told him to suck it.”
“Told him he would kill him just like he did Norris,” the prosecutor said.
Gaskin said this was a mirroring of what transpired.
Farquharson said the court was ‘well aware’ no sexual element had been proven or established.
The prosecutor referenced a second conviction for Goodman for an attempted murder and causing bodily harm in 1996 when he got 18 years in jail.
On July 20, 1996, a 10-year-old boy was with a friend in the area of Garden Hills and left to buy soda for them.
Walking through a track road, he was approached by a man he knew as “Vardo” who asked him to help him find his plastic bag in Montell Heights, with a promise to pay him for his help.
The boy returned to his friend with the soda before going off with “Vardo” to Montell Heights.
In a shortcut of that community, the man demanded the boy to perform a sexual act and when he refused, “Vardo” pulled out a screwdriver from his waist and stabbed the boy several times about the body.
Mr Farquharson again said the judge was “allowing” several instances of similar-fact evidence even though there was no fact to the manner or cause of death regarding Marco Archer and that no provision in law allowed for it.
No evidence of kidnapping or sex was produced in the case, he said.
‘Menace to society, predator’
The prosecutor then referred to the psychiatric report which noted that the convict’s thoughts were “entirely coherent and goal directed” and his memory recall “had been demonstrated to be appropriate.”
The prosecutor asked the court to consider 20 years of Goodman’s life and submitted that there was no reform.
“He has displayed and continued to display a propensity for violence,” he said.
Goodman was said to have used obscene language, assault police, and had acted disorderly.
“We say that the defendant is a menace to society, a predator,” the prosecution concluded, submitting to the court that the convict should suffer death for his actions.
‘Not the worst of worst’
In response to the Crown’s submission, Mr Farquharson asked the court if the offence in this case based on the circumstances, could be deemed “worst of the worst” according to the standards of common or statute law?
He said it could not be so because there were other offences and circumstances worse that had not warranted the death penalty by the law or the London-based Privy Council.
Mr Farquharson said that for the murder of a child, the statute law the Crown made reference to for sentencing “is not considered worst of the worst.”
“In fact it is not even in the act,” he said, adding that it was a travesty “that the prosecution has sought the death penalty in this matter.”
He dubbed the prosecution’s submissions as a public relations exercise designed to “fool the public into believing that there was some kidnapping or abduction.”
“If it were it would’ve been charged,” he said, and submitted that evidence in the trial revealed that there was nothing produced to say that the body was sexually assaulted.
He added that there was also no definitive evidence of how he died.
“The fact that there are absolutely no proven facts to the manner of death assures it cannot be a death penalty case”, referencing the case of Forrestor Bowe 2008 in support of his argument.
On the issue of the alternative, life imprisonment, the attorney asked if there was such a thing and if not, how much years for his client was appropriate?
He submitted that a life sentence was not appropriate based on other cases and the circumstances of this case.
He said that previously, those who were convicted of murders that were unexplainable usually served 15-25 in prison, reasoning that this case was similar.
Justice Turner said the court would require time to consider the submissions, case authorities and other material produced and would inform the legal parties on October 28 if he required more time or would pass sentence on Goodman.
Goodman was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison.