By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEATH or life imprisonment for three men convicted of a policeman’s murder will be decided by Justice Roy Jones in five days time.
At 5:15pm yesterday, which marked the third day of sentencing for Stephen “Die” Stubbs, Andrew “Yogi” Davis and Clinton “Russ” Evans, Justice Roy Jones said he would sentence them on October 30 at 11am.
Seven hours before this, Romona Farquharson-Seymour addressed the court on behalf of her client, Clinton Evans. She asked the court to consider that the Crown failed to comply with established practice directions to serve notice of their intent to seek the death penalty.
She said that her client is not supposed to infer what may happen to him because of procedural errors on the part of the prosecution.
Evans’ attorney further submitted that the case did not fall into the category of “the worst of the worst” because of the circumstances that started the incident, a fight at the club.
She submitted that there was no premeditation or plan and added that notwithstanding the conviction, her client was never identified at the scene based on the evidence of Marcian Scott.
The lawyer said the court could refer to the case of Maxi Tido deemed “worst of the worst” by then Justice Anita-Allen, though the death sentence in that matter was overturned by the Privy Council.
Mr Cargill, agreeing with Ms Farquharson-Seymour and Murrio Ducille who made his submissions on Wednesday, adopted the arguments of the two defence counsel, having relied on the same cases.
On Wednesday, Stubbs’ lawyer argued that he has a right to life regardless of a conviction for a policeman’s murder and that Privy Council rulings and those of neighbouring jurisdictions that have supported the “presumption of an unquestionable right to life” in cases in which the death penalty is imposed.
Mr Ducille informed the court that the “right to life” was one of many factors the Privy Council had set out for judge’s to consider, the others being, but not limited to, the extremity of the murder, the question of the convict’s ability to be reformed, and whether or not justice could only be met through death of the convict.
While noting that it is serious for a police officer to be murdered in the execution of his duty, it did not make this particular case egregious and added that death should only be considered in cases “where there is no hope for reform.”
All three defence counsel argued that the previous convictions of their clients prior to the commission of the offence, held no weight as time was served and the offences were dealt with in summary trials, not Supreme Court.
They concluded that the probation report showed that their clients were not beyond reform and that they were capable of rehabilitation.
Counter-submissions by the prosecution, divided by public prosecutions director Vinette Graham-Allen and senior prosecutor Ambrose Armbrister, began at 11am, adjourned at 1pm and resumed at 3pm.
Graham-Allen refuted the arguments that notice was not served, indicating that the nature of the charges and particulars brought against the three men served as notice of the Crown’s intentions.
The DPP also noted that there has been significant development of common and statute law since practice notes were made.
Mr Armbrister asked the court to find that the three convicts “suffer death in the manner authorised by law” because, according to recently amended law taking into account the rulings by the Privy Council, “they have committed murder in the worst of the worst.”
He noted that murder of a disciplined officer, in this instance, was categorised by parliament as one of the worst offences of murder that could be committed, and emphasised that statute law, in the end, supersedes common law.
He asked the court to consider that the victim was shot multiple times about the body, being grabbed and thrown to the ground outside of the club in the execution of his duties.
Mr Armbrister also noted that no remorse had been shown for the crime, which he submitted, was the first step towards rehabilitation.
On July 25, Stubbs, Davis and Evans were each found guilty of murder in the March 1999 death of Constable Jimmy Ambrose and attempted murder of Constable Marcian Scott. Evans was separately charged with two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to put another in fear. He was found guilty on both counts.
Stubbs was represented by Murrio Ducille and Jerone Roberts while Davis and Evans were represented by Ian Cargill and Ramona Farquharson-Seymour respectively.
According to the evidence, Constable Ambrose and Constable Scott were shot at by Stubbs and Evans after a fight in a local nightclub. Ambrose was hit and died as a result of his injuries.
Evans possessed a firearm with intent to put Constables Frank Burrows and Calvin Robinson in fear of their lives.
All three men pleaded not guilty when the charges were initially read to them. The jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all counts.