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Privy Council Quashes 25-Year Sentence In Manslaughter Case

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A MAN is expected to be resentenced for manslaughter in a month’s time having won his appeal to the Privy Council to squash a 25-year-old year prison sentence for the throat-slashing killing of a 19-year-old woman.

Dominque Moss’ February 10 substantive hearing date was set yesterday morning when he made his appearance before the Court of Appeal after the Privy Council sent the matter back last November to the appellate court to allow arguments to be heard on the 
appropriate sentence to be handed down for the 1999 killing of Samantha Forbes.

Moss has retained Sonia Timothy to argue on the appropriate sentence while prosecutor Neil Braithwaite will respond for the Crown. Justices Anita Allen, Stanley John and Neville Adderley are presiding over the matter.

In 1999, the partially nude body of Samantha Forbes was found on the Emerald Bay golf course in Grand Bahama. Her head had been nearly severed by a laceration to the throat and neck.

Five years later, Moss was convicted and sentenced to death on April 6, 2004 after the Supreme Court found him guilty of killing Ms. Forbes.

Keith Lotmore, Moss’ co-accused at the time, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison.

Both men contested their fates to the appellate court which ruled that Moss’ murder verdict “cannot stand”, as the trial judge Stephen Isaacs, had failed to direct the jury in regards to Moss being intoxicated at the time the crime was committed.

Then Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall said that the absence of that particular direction was “fatal” and that it denied the opportunity of being acquitted of murder instead of being convicted of manslaughter. Sir Burton said that if Moss was under the influence of alcohol, as testified by two witnesses, then the jury should have been directed to take into consideration the question of the intent to kill on Moss’ part.
He explained that certain offences like murder required the specific intent to kill.
In regards to Lotmore, the Chief Justice ruled that the verdict stands, as the evidence heard in the trial had shown that the appellant had joined Moss in a “common design” to cause “at least unlawful harm” to Ms. Forbes.

Moss, meanwhile, was granted a reprieve as the court substituted his death sentence with a conviction of manslaughter and a jail sentence of 25 years.

However, this too was appealed to the London-based Privy Council which heard arguments in October 2013 that the appellate court handed down the sentence without hearing arguments from either side on an appropriate sentence.

The key submission on Moss’ behalf was that it was a fundamental breach of natural justice to pass sentence without giving a defendant the opportunity to be heard.

It was further argued that 25 years was excessive considering that the co-accused received a six-year term.

In November 2013, while abstaining from offering a view on an appropriate sentence for the crime, the Privy Council ruled that Moss was entitled to be heard on sentencing and remitted the matter back to the appellate court accordingly.

Comments

B_I_D___ 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh yes...I forgot that little gem!! If you are drunk, you are not legally responsible for your actions in this country...FACT. Where's my rum...need to go on a killing spree!! Better yet...let me get drunk, and drive and speed and run red lights...I am not bound to any law as I am not responsible for my actions while intoxicated.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 9 months ago

Isn't that stupid. Could you imagine the new defense for murder now is " I WAS DRUNK". The privy council really finding ways to weaken our judicial system. I think it is now we think about the value of the privy council

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B_I_D___ 4 years, 9 months ago

There is case law already out there to use this as a defense...essentially, all laws are null and void if you are drunk...you cannot be held responsible for your actions. Word to the wise...keep a shorty with you at all times...when you do something stupid, take a quick swig before the police arrive and claim drunkenness.

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Observer 4 years, 9 months ago

Think, Bahamas, think. Murder is ok if one can verify being intoxicated at the time one commits the crime! We are in HELL already. So what about narcotics and other stuff like that?

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B_I_D___ 4 years, 9 months ago

Anything that alters your mind in such a way that you may not have committed a crime if you were not in that state of mind of intoxication, drugs alcohol, whatever. All joking aside...and the above comments are no real joke, I think it all stems from the concept of premeditated murder and manslaughter, for the murder conviction to stick, you need to have been of clear mind and planned the murder...the catch was someone was convicted of murder and was highly intoxicated...in appeals it got overturned as he should not have been charged with murder, but should have been charged with manslaughter, or second degree manslaughter, some lesser charge. That case is now in the law books...I'm no lawyer so I may not be 100% in my terminology here, but I think you get the gist of what I am trying to describe.

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IslandTransPlant 3 years, 8 months ago

This is one of the reasons why these monsters are back on the streets killing people, and if the Bahamas is an independent nation why do they have listen to England that is not independence when these murders no that they can kill and they know that they won't be put to death, if you ask me they are encouraging this kind of behavior this guy slid someones throat what qualifies for that kind of punishment These a bunch of people that's out of touch with realty that's trying to make up for all the killing the British monarchy has commit.

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