By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Court of Appeal granted the Crown’s request for an adjournment in the appeal of a man convicted of a paid execution.
Anthony Clarke Sr and his lawyer Romona Farquharson-Seymour appeared in the appellate court yesterday for the expected hearing on arguments contesting his conviction and death sentence for the September 16, 2011 murder of Aleus Tilus.
At the previous hearing in October, the court said it would grant no further adjournments when Clarke’s third retained lawyer requested additional time to complete her review of the trial transcripts.
Yesterday the appellant’s lawyer began her arguments saying that the trial judge erred in law in admitting four alleged confessions into evidence.
During the proceedings, Justice Abdulai Conteh told Crown respondent Sandradee Gardiner that their submissions did not respond to any of the arguments put forth by the appellants.
Ms Gardiner explained that the submissions were filed prior to the submissions of the appellant which they received on November 7. However, she said, she was unable to view their arguments until the day before the proceedings.
“If you’re not prepared for it, say so,” Justice Stanley John said, adding that serious issues had been raised by the appellant.
“Do you need time?” Justice Anita Allen asked. The prosecutor said she did.
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour did not oppose the application, but asked that she be served with the original submissions and amended ones as the Crown had yet to do so.
The matter was adjourned to November 26, with submissions ordered to be filed and served by November 19.
During Clarke’s trial, the prosecution produced a confession statement in which Clarke purportedly owned up to the murder.
He allegedly told police that he was paid “a lot of money” by a man, who was not named, to kill Tilus because of an ongoing dispute before the Labour Board, concerning Tilus’ employer.
The convict’s then-attorney, Shaka Serville, submitted that the statement was obtained through force and brutality against his client.
The jury returned an unanimous guilty verdict and the prosecutor, Ambrose Armbrister, indicated the Crown’s intention to seek the death penalty.
On October 10, 2013, Senior Justice Jon Isaacs, having taken into account submissions from the prosecution and defence attorneys and the probation and psychiatric reports, agreed to the Crown’s request to sentence Clarke to death.
Clarke had applied to the Court of Appeal for an extension late last year, having missed his 21-day deadline to appeal his murder conviction and death sentence.